Don’t become a victim of your success: what advertisers and media brands can learn from past mistakes

Super Bowl advertisers have moved beyond television commercials and started to adopt a Second Screen strategy. The goal: grab a larger share of viewers’ attention by combining engaging content on television screens with immersive online experiences on mobile devices.

Among the first major brands to run such a second screen campaign was Coca-Cola. During the 2013 Super Bowl, the company launched the Coke Chase commercial that directed viewers to a concurrent online competition tied to the ad.

Promoted during two Super Bowl commercials, the CokeChase.com website was designed to let users take part in a virtual road race (the Chase). As the commercials went live, viewers pulled up the promoted website – which promptly crashed under all the traffic.

The rush of mobile screens brought CokeChase.com to its knees. And Coca-Cola wasn’t alone: thirteen websites in total crashed during the event due to overwhelming viewer traffic that was created by halftime commercial campaigns.

Big name Super Bowl advertisers spent plenty to engage viewers, but clearly underestimated the traffic that would be generated. The intent of each campaign was to provide highly engaging content promoting the brand; instead, each of these campaigns failed to fulfill their promise, thus tarnishing their brand and missing out on an opportunity to engage with their customer base.

These negative effects on the advertisers’ brands could have been avoided. Planning to handle a successful high quality campaign requires network and server redundancy, capacity management, as well as people and processes – all of which may be cost prohibitive for a one-time event or campaign.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) allow brands to offload this burden while enabling their websites to maintain maximum performance and uptime during traffic spikes.

CDNs are specifically designed to handle large volumes of traffic by strategically replicating web content across the Internet, reducing or even eliminating the load on the website’s origin. Using an already deployed, well-tested and monitored network provides the groundwork required to provide superior online experiences, even with an unanticipated surge in viewers.

As attention spans of digital consumers are deteriorating, brands have no choice but to offer instant and high quality experiences, no matter on which screen. Whether success is driven by a multi-million television commercial, a $400 Google Adwords or a Twitter campaign, brands must be ready to keep users engaged across screens and devices — to ensure they’re never (again) letting fans down.

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