Insights to Power Social Good

A Super Bowl Reflection

Posted by Jonathan Bray on Feb 12, 2016 5:12:49 PM



How to Better Execute a Text-Book Text Message Call-to-Action

The Super Bowl is always a fun time for many gathering around the television to enjoy food and drink with close friends.

We can seemingly feel the electricity through the television set!

We just love to watch the ads...maybe for entertainment, maybe to get some ideas for our own marketing efforts…. and maybe just for the implied Buffalo Wings.

The Super Bowl is always a interesting time for us as we pioneered the text-to-give space opening up the channel for everyone for the first time in 2008 during a Super Bowl ad. (Check out the 10sec PSA here.) This was the first time the U.S. population had ever seen a “Text KEYWORD to SHORT CODE to give” call-to-action.

Over the years, we find it interesting that text calls-to-action, although becoming more and more popular, could be executed to achieve much greater results when following a couple of best practices.

The Ad

I mean you’re talking about the coveted Super Bowl ad…

The reach you have is tremendous!

People are gathered around the TV and glued even through the commercials in the hopes of a funny and wacky video.

And everyone has their mobile phone in hand or close by.

We were intrigued by the No More ad.

They told a great story and in modern terms.

The ad gave me chills… what a powerful story. I will say I felt connected personally touched by this campaign.

And hey, they ended in a text call-to-action! Yes!

We’d be really interested to know how the metrics of that particular campaign unfolded, but we did have some thoughts… some best practices to consider for a more effective call-to-action.

Maybe you could use these examples to enhance your calls-to-action.


Because we work at mGive and love mobile, we were ready…

We were waiting with our mobile phones close by during the commercials to try some of the mobile calls-to-action this year and found only one. Which is kinda crazy because it’s still the easiest way to bring someone from the physical world into yours and capture that moment of connection through a mobile subscription.

The text call-to-action came… but went, and quick!

In 4 seconds.

Before I had a chance to grab my phone from the coffee table and unlock the screen. (I set it down for 1 SECOND! #WingSauce.)

The info had gone and I had missed it… drats! Oh well, the next commercial was pretty entertaining.

“Hey what was that short code number?”

I turned to my left and asked what the text in number was, only to be met with a confused pair of eyeballs and a mouthful of wings…’I have no idea’ muttered the half full mouth of my buddy… who was eating… you guessed it… buffalo wings.

In just a couple moments, I had to accept that I missed it and divert my attention to the next highly produced, entertaining commercial that aired…. maybe some chips, a sip of my beverage, a laugh with friends, and then the football game’s next drive!

I’ve read this study that it takes about 7 seconds for you to make a decision.

I know Super Bowl ad seconds are precious and expensive…

But if getting someone to take the desired action you want is important to you, then help the portion of the audience that is compelled to engage with you and give them ample opportunity to engage… or text in.

The awareness garnered is good, but if you’re able to convert even a little bit better, you’re able to create a conversation with a great deal of people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

There’s a misconception that text doesn’t work… or doesn’t work anymore.

But that’s like saying credit card forms don’t work.

There are two main components, outside the technology actively working you have to do to make it work:

  1. You have to make it easy, clear, simple.
  2. You have to make me want to take that action. (Make me care.)

This holds true in a Super Bowl ad, radio ad, or event billboard call-to-action.

With all the money spent on the commercial, I would have loved to test the results of the text campaign utilizing these best practices vs. this control.

Here’s another concept that maps to some ideas for making it easier and more clear to get involved, and it’s a concept relative to how we learn...

Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that was wide implications to marketing and learning more generally. It essentially incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material to increase retention of knowledge over time.

Said simply, we learn the things we revisit in our mind over time through repetition.  

Whether it’s a radio / television ad OR a month long campaign calendar, it is important to use spaced repetition techniques to increase the rate at which people follow through with your desired outcome.

Here are a couple thoughts on how to make the text call-to-action more effective:

  • Beginning: Instead of giving just 4 seconds at the end, the ad could have made me aware right off the bat that I’d be able to text in. Showcasing the mobile call-to-action, somewhere as a teaser or small and on the side. Now I wouldn’t be compelled to text in just yet, but I’d at least be aware that this was going to be an option.
  • Middle: The text call-to-action could have flashed at the bottom of the screen, or on an overlay in the lower third of the screen.
  • End: The final call-to-action, which was done amazingly, could’ve been left a bit longer if they could squeeze it in a couple more frames for the audience.

Last note on Spaced Repetition is you can use this with audio and visual queues to build a stronger connection to your action.

For example, they did a great job at using a phone graphic where two individuals were texting each other.

Right there, you are communicating immediately, and visually, what you will be asking the audience to do - text in on their mobile phone.

In Conclusion

The Super Bowl is a fun experience with the community, friends, family, food, drink, and sports ball! (Also, I’ve been a Broncos fan since forever, so that was pretty much the best day for #BroncosCountry! Go Donks!)

The No More ad told a great story and utilized text (SMS) to help build their community and create engagement with their tuned in users.

They could’ve made it easier for people to realize the opportunity was there to text in so that they would receive more inbound requests and build a bigger community from the commercial.

But, again, I get the seconds being precious… how do you think they would have incorporated their text call-to-action through the ad for a better response?


Topics: Marketing, Advertising, Call-to-Action, Text

Receive Fundraising, Acquisition, and Cultivation Tips by Email

Resources to Mobilize Your Organization

2015 Text Donation Study

Follow Us

Most Popular Posts