Trump’s Super Bowl Ad Gets Intercepted by Bloomberg’s Search Ads
A Super Bowl ad costs a lot of money, so you’d think that a presidential re-election campaign would have its optichannel game locked down for one. But news emerged on Jan. 31 that presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg trumped the commander-in-chief’s Super Bowl ad by buying up its related keywords in Google.
“Trump Super Bowl Ad,” “Trump’s Super Bowl Ad,” “Trump’s Super Bowl Commercial,” and even just “Trump Super Bowl” return Bloomberg’s ad as the top search result: “Trump's Broken Promises | Enough Is Enough.”
Bloomberg's link still came up on Feb. 3 with the same Google searches for Trump's ad. Bloomberg's search ad was gone on Feb. 7.
Clicking on the link around the time of the Big Game, visitors found Bloomberg's Super Bowl ad:
On YouTube, though, the "Trump Super Bowl ad" search yielded this result:
This push-pull between political candidates is nothing new. Trump usurped Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's effort to court the Latino vote in October 2019 by buying the domain name for "Todos con Biden." But that wasn't a Super Bowl ad.
What Bloomberg's spend in search shows, though, is optichannel is the name of the game now for what was once a pretty single-focus effort: Super Bowl ads during the Super Bowl.
With the way the advertising game is played now, two days ahead of the actual Big Game, many Americans have already searched for and found Super Bowl ads. The 2020 advertising Big Day is now spread out, far beyond 30 seconds on Sunday, Feb. 2.
As for Bloomberg's search engine marketing effort, the Washington Examiner says on Friday:
Bloomberg’s campaign is also purchasing terms relevant to his and Trump’s in-game spots “as a way to make sure the powerful story in our ad is seen by as many people as possible,” the Bloomberg national campaign's spokeswoman said.
Bloomberg’s $30 million spending spree on Google ads since May 2018 makes him the top spender among 2020 candidates, according to a transparency report. Trump’s campaign comes in at second place, having spent almost $10 million.
WeatherTech not only crossed channels, it added a nonprofit effort to its Super Bowl ad, seen here on Twitter:
— WeatherTech (@WeatherTech) January 28, 2020
Earned media also picked up on the optichannel campaign:
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 31, 2020
This is a pretty straightforward, emotional appeal, which manages to serve several purposes.
Political ads, though, are open efforts to gain votes and campaign contributions.
Perhaps that's why, in general, brands don’t do this open trickery to each other the way politicians do. Usually when brands get trumped, it’s because they simply forgot to renew their domains. But a competitor doesn’t swoop in the way President Donald Trump’s adversary did.
Leave it to a future Super Bowl to change the game, though.
What do you think, marketers? As of Feb. 3, the halftime show is getting far more attention than anything else with a brand tie-in. Did Pepsi score with its sponsorship? As of 11 a.m. on Feb. 3, Pepsi's stock price doesn't seem to be affected by the Super Bowl sponsorship. As of Feb. 7, Pepsi's stock rose from $142 on Jan. 31 to $144 on Feb. 7.
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Biden Camp Forgets to Secure Domain, Loses It to Trump