What’s the Big Takeaway from Super Bowl LVI, Marketers? Keep It Simple!

Erin Zwirn Picture

by Erin Zwirn | Last Updated: Feb 17, 2022

As marketers, we have a lot to unpack around the Super Bowl. But, what stood out for us – the commercials were a feast of millennial (and GenX) nostalgia. It was textbook. Commercials marketed by many A-list celebrities, humorous tones, and high-tech products tied to the emotions that only a 90s or early 2000s kid may get. Plus, in the second quarter, we saw the world of analog (again, for many of us) with a black backdrop much like an old DVD player screen saver with color-changing QR code that bounced around the TV screen for Bitcoin from the crypto exchange company, Coinbase.  Coinbase says they had more than 20 million hits on its landing page in just 60 seconds – it was the most traffic its website had ever encountered – including a website crash!   But there’s more to the magic that took place in that straightforward and effective ad. Going by the numbers reported by multiple media, we can estimate its value.  According to marketing sources, the ad reached roughly 100 million people for $14 million, or 14 cents per viewer. Unfortunately, Coinbase doesn’t disclose churn, customer acquisition cost, or lifetime value. Still, most estimates put the lifetime value (LTV) in the $300-plus range. So let’s estimate a customer is worth about $285 to Coinbase ($300 LTV minus $15 CAC from the giveaway) that signals a rate of 0.04%, converting about 49,000 people into users.  Hands down, many in the ad and marketing community say the advertisement was a remarkable, attention-grabbing tactic to boost awareness, get sign-ups and enable first-party data validation that the company can presumably use later to target consumers.   In a sea of high-production commercials, Coinbase proved a simple concept always wins.  Less Talk, More QR Scans  Marketers think they have to do something ultimately brand new to be creative when in reality, some of the most innovative and successful campaigns are new takes on familiar concepts.  The Whopper Detour by Burger King is another excellent example - asking consumers to download an app to get a coupon isn’t a new tactic. Still, not every brand makes them order a Whopper from its competitor’s location to get the discount. QR codes have gone through the hype cycle. It is a use case in campaigns that marketers often have a love/hate relationship. But the results from Coinbase’s  Super Bowl commercial will validate the power of a QR. Think of it as a digital tool to bridge marketing campaigns across digital and physical channels. For example, it can take shape in a mobile app that helps a consumer identify which mocktail recipes to gather ingredients when in an aisle at the supermarket or learning about a new haircare brand when in the haircare section of a drugstore.  Content Starter Kit QR CodeMore brands, some already have, will take a page from the Coinbase ad to help market their products and services. Likely, the uptick in "second-screening," scannable codes on TV ads give marketers another data signal boost about consumers. In addition, the timing for the next QR hype cycle may be here, as most smartphones support QR code scanning, and the consumers doing the scanning want a personalized and interactive digital experience that connects them to the brand.   The takeaway is simple approaches to engagement always win. And, if we take that one step further, it's everything app building should be too.  

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