Pass the Wings, the Dip and the “Second Screen”

As recently as five years ago, the mobile phone was considered to be the “third screen” behind the TV and the PC.  While the mobile web was well on its way to ubiquity at the time, there were few mobile devices able to take full advantage of it. Downloading Internet content from the “third screen” at the time was a painfully, painfully slow process.  Remember the first iPhone wasn’t available until the summer of 2007, so for the most part we were using much less powerful feature phones that were able to access the Internet (yes, many people are still doing the same today).

Now, the much more powerful and intuitive smartphone and tablet have displaced the PC — at least in the marketing and advertising world — as the “second screen.”  And on Sunday, advertisers will go after the second screen like never before.

Do you have your smartphone or tablet at the ready whenever you’re watching ordinary TV vs. big events like the Super Bowl?  And are you tweeting updates and sharing opinions on Facebook with friends in real-time or are you just “enjoying” the program like we did in the old days?

Remember freaking out when you wanted to watch TV but couldn’t find the remote control? Well, today it’s more about having a smartphone or tablet on your lap so you can text and post on your favorite social media channel while watching TV.  You can even use your smartphone as a remote control if you can’t find the real one.

Nielsen reports that about 66% of us use these devices while watching TV.  And with tens of millions of viewers expected to tune into Sunday’s rematch between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, advertisers and marketers are salivating.

This year, we’re seeing a whole new level of social media activity for Super Bowl advertisers,” said Tim Calkins of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern Unversity.  Calkins added that advertisers’ won’t know how effective their attempts to connect with you and me on our smartphones will be until the big game.  But they will spare no expense in trying to do so.

According to the AP, on its Facebook page Coco Cola will feature one animated polar bear cheering for the Pats and another for the Giants; Chevrolet’s smartphone application will allow us to vie for pizza and a new car; Toyota wants us to tweet about what other products, in addition to the Camry, it should reinvent. And perhaps in a tactic that takes second screen interaction to a new level, smartphone users will be able to put their device up to the TV to scan a QR code that will take you to the company website, where one can presume there will be other ways to interact with GoDaddy.com.

So if Sunday’s game isn’t a good one, there’s no shortage of ideas from advertisers to keep us watching anyway.

And if the game goes downs to the wire, as many are predicting, everyone wins.

Enjoy the game!   (Go Pats!!!!)

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