January 30, 2014

The Skyline is the Limit For Social Media Branding

For years, the Super Bowl has been less a football game than a spectacle unmatched by any other single event in America. In bringing the Super Bowl to the New York/New Jersey area this year, the NFL ratcheted the hype to an even greater level, dropping the most-watched television show of the year into the media capital of the world. Throw Peyton Manning, arguably the most marketable player in the league, into the equation and the ingredients for a bona fide extravaganza are all on the table. Experts are predicting this year’s game will exceed the record of 111.3 million viewers who watched the game in 2012.

Considering the size of the audience, it’s not surprising that Fox had no trouble selling out television advertising for the game despite the estimated $4 million price tag affixed to a 30-second commercial. Sunday’s game promises to bring big plays by big stars, a high-energy halftime show and the most anticipated commercials of the year—but we’ve seen all of that before. Verizon’s social media campaign and partnership with the Empire State Building, however, is something brand new.

During the week leading up to the big game, Verizon is posing a game-related question to fans on Twitter using the custom hashtag #WhosGonnaWin. According to the Verizon Wireless website, the company “is working with one of the world’s foremost experts on Twitter sentiment analysis, Professor Mike Thelwall, from the University of Wolverhampton, UK and Sosolimited, and a team of MIT graduates with expertise in linguistic analysis and data visualization to provide the methodology, analytics and results.”

After the results are compiled, the Empire State Building's lighting designer Marc Brickman will turn the fans' predictions into a nightly show beginning at 6 p.m. each evening. The show, which airs nightly at 6 p.m. EST, will open with a ceremony of lights celebrating the colors of all 32 NFL teams. At 6:55 p.m., the results portion of the show, set to music provided by NFL Films, will begin. The entire results show can be seen via a live-stream at WhosGonnaWin.com.

Verizon’s campaign is a wonderful example of how far a little outside-the-box thinking can go in distinguishing your brand.  During a week in which many of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world are spending enormous sums of money to establish a presence in and around the game, Verizon found a way to stand apart—and above—everybody else.

The Empire State Building project also demonstrates the power of a social media campaign when it’s tied in with another marketing strategy. Sure, not every business has the resources to light up a 1,250-foot skyscraper for a week leading up to the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean companies of all sizes can’t use social media to draw people to their booth at a trade show, publicize a webinar or promote a new product. As Verizon is making clear this week, with social media, the only limits to what you can accomplish are those you place on yourself.

Edited by Gerald Baldino

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