The 56th Super Bowl is coming up here on February 13th. Naturally, it’s got millions of football lovers excited, especially fans of the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Even fans who have no stake in either team will gather for a classic party on the 13th.
And even people who don’t watch football at all are gearing up for the Big Game! Millions of Americans tune in to the Super Bowl. For some of them, it’s the only football game they will watch all year.
The massive audience every Super Bowl draws has made it one of the most classic marketing opportunities for brands. Everyone wants to sponsor the Big Game – if they can afford it. 30-second ad spots famously go for hefty sums.
Over the years, viewers have set a high bar for those ads to meet. Some watchers only watch the Super Bowl for the ads. That’s because Super Bowl ads notoriously employ that controversial marketing tactic: humor.
Funny commercials are synonymous with “Super Bowl” at this point. It’s the typical tactic rolled out every year by major brands.
But this year, sponsors have so many more options to reach fans than they did in 2002. Laugh-inducing ads aren’t the only way to get your message out. New technologies allow companies to deliver a different kind of experience to the Super Bowl LVI audience than they could for Super Bowl XL.
In particular, second-screen technology has revolutionized viewer engagement during live sporting events. Companies like Versus Systems have developed platforms that allow fans to simultaneously watch games and participate in game-related trivia and polls. Versus’ XEO Platform lets fans play along on brand-customized smartphone games, with opportunities for fans to win real prizes.
This year’s Super Bowl is the perfect opportunity for demonstrating the power of second-screen technology. The incredible success of XEO this past year, in every sport from boxing to hockey, has proven the concept. Now, it’s time for brands to deploy it more widely.
Anyone wondering whether or not second-screen technology will catch on should rest assured. It already has. XEO has around 1 million viewers every week.
As far as the question of how far smartphone trivia and online gaming platforms can potentially reach, we’ve got one question for you.
Have you ever heard of Wordle?
Naturally, some brands might wonder whether fans will really want to be on their phones while they watch the Super Bowl. But again, given the success of second-screen technology so far, I think the answer is clear.
In 2022, people are used to multitasking. Millions of people use multiple devices simultaneously, throughout the day. We listen to podcasts while working, play music while writing, text our friends while watching movies, live-tweet presidential debates, and share our reactions to concerts with all of our friends on social media in real time.
Audiences know how to keep their attention on the game, and on their devices. Second-screen engagement is just a way to tap into what viewers are probably already doing while watching the Super Bowl: using their phones.
The clever thing about using second-screen technology for engaging sports fans is that it enhances the action on the field. Rather than compete with, or detract from, what the players are doing (the way social media and texting might), platforms like XEO complement the game.
For Super Bowl LVI, this might include trivia about the Bengals and Rams, about Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow, about the history of the Big Game, and about what’s actually happening on the gridiron. It might include puzzles and quizzes and, best of all, predictive trivia – which gives audiences the chance to guess outcomes in the Big Game and win real prizes.
Let’s face it, they’re already betting on the game with everyone at their watch parties anyway.
Second-screen technology is just one option available to brands in 2022 that wasn’t available 20 years ago. This year, there are many strategies businesses can try. There’s the tried-and-true method of the clever ad just before halftime. The golden-oldie of the “Secret Gold Box.” And there are new technologies like the XEO Platform that allow companies to reach fans where they’re at.
Versus has been partnering with NFL teams throughout the 2021 preseason and season. Whether or not brands take advantage of it, Versus has delivered an incredibly creative tool for them to offer a better experience to Super Bowl LVI viewers.