How a Superbowl Spot Helped 84 Lumber Boost Brand Awareness and Talent Recruiting

As one of the top independent ad agencies in the Unites States, Brunner’s mission is to help clients anticipate and leverage what’s next in their customer’s journey through the confluence of creativity, technology and decision analytics. While full- service, Brunner has a specialty home and building category group, industry leading digital, search and social media practices, and a recognized innovation lab & tech incubator.

I spoke with Kristen Taggert, Director of Social Media and George Potts, VP/Managing Director of Social Media at Brunner about their recent collaboration with 84 Lumber during the Super Bowl—and the strategy, preparation, and pivoting critical to the campaign’s success.

Spredfast: As an integrated agency, we’d love to start from the top. First, what is the history of the relationship between Brunner and 84 Lumber? Second, what was the strategy and goal for this campaign?

Brunner: Brunner is 84 Lumber’s agency of record. The strategy for the campaign was to position 84 Lumber as the company of opportunity.

The 84 Lumber culture is defined by its people. Those people have an amazing entrepreneurial spirit and blue-collar work ethic. They are the kind of people who are the first to arrive and the last to leave, because the job needs to be done right. The goal was to highlight the characteristics of a person that will go to great lengths for a new opportunity to better themselves and to create a better life for their family. We wanted people to be inspired to make a change, to roll up their sleeves and take a stand for something greater than themselves.

84 Lumber doesn’t need more people interested in doing the same thing that’s always been done. They needed, and wanted, more people interested in creating their own path for themselves and ultimately, for 84 Lumber.

Spredfast: The Super Bowl is one of the most watched televised events worldwide (this year tied for the 4th most watched event in television history). Talk us through the decision to buy ad space during the Super Bowl for 84 Lumber?

Brunner: While the 84 Lumber name is well-known within the home-building industry, the brand awareness among the general public was very low. People don’t realize that they are a $2.5B company with 5,000+ team members. The home-building industry has been going through a period of extreme disruption. The pipeline of those in the trades is drying up, so we needed to recruit and hire people differently. At the end of the day, if 84 Lumber wanted to attract the smartest and most ambitious people, the decision was that we had to reach outside of the normal channels. Therefore, the Super Bowl.

The pipeline of those in the trades is drying up, so 84 Lumber needed to recruit and hire people differently—through social.

 

Spredfast: How and where did social fit into the initial planning process?

Brunner: Social media was part of every phase of the campaign.

Two weeks prior to the Super Bowl, the role of social was to thread 84 Lumber’s social feeds with the employees that currently demonstrate the characteristics that the campaign was meant to portray. This was articulated through a video series, in-situation imagery and GIFs that provided the viewer with a sense of the dedication and determination that is needed to work at 84 Lumber.

One week prior to the Super Bowl, the role of social transitioned to one that would drive excitement and anticipation of the 90-second Super Bowl ad. We published interviews from our Creative Director, Rob Shapiro and the spot’s Director, Cole Webley. We highlighted artifacts from the ad, such as pieces of the flag that the little girl collects, landscapes surrounding the shoot and characters introduced along the journey. This phase ended with the pre-release of the 90-second ad, three days prior to the Super Bowl.

On the day of the Super Bowl, we went into “war room” mode. We had a detailed response rubric prepared, our Intelligence dashboards set up, and all of our community managers monitoring and responding to the reactions to our broadcasted spot.

On the day of the Super Bowl, we went into “war room” mode.

 

After the Super Bowl we will deploy a retargeting campaign to entice those who fall in our targeting parameters, watched the ad, and visited the careers page, to apply for a career at 84 Lumber.

Spredfast: How did you plan to staff your team during (before and after) the Super Bowl to monitor user responses and engagement once the ad showed? What role did Spredfast play?

Brunner: The day of the Super Bowl we had the full social media and public relations teams in the War Room. The social media community management team used Spredfast Conversations to monitor, respond to and track all of the conversations on 84 Lumber’s owned social media properties. In addition, we used Spredfast Intelligence to gain a high-level understanding of the mentions of 84 Lumber, and those mentions in comparison to the other brands running a Super Bowl commercial. As time progressed, we used Intelligence to identify and engage with top influencers.

Our 84 Lumber Intelligence dashboard became our primary performance gauge. At a glance, we were able to tell the activity around the hashtags we were monitoring and continue to identify influencers with whom to engage, as well as gain an understanding as to which publications were running a story on 84 Lumber.

Spredfast: What additional prep did you undergo from a social engagement and listening perspective to plan for the ad premiere?

Brunner: To prep, we developed a detailed response rubric so that our community managers had a guide to help identify the comments that needed responded to, as well as escalated or removed. Alongside of that response rubric, we developed talking points on everything from background on 84 Lumber, to anticipated questions about current events such as immigration issues.

Spredfast: How did you include your client for the day-of strategy? Were they embedded with you? What did that look like?

Brunner: A few of the 84 Lumber team members joined us in the office for the day-of events. They assisted in answering in-the-moment questions on company specific topics such as HR policies. They also monitored their regional social properties natively through Facebook, answering any concerns as they came up.

Spredfast: Did you pivot your social strategy once Fox rejected the initial spot days before the Super Bowl?

Brunner: We had to make some adjustments around messaging and timing, but fundamentally, the social strategy stayed consistent.

Fundamentally, the social strategy stayed consistent.

 

Spredfast: Were there any other surprises from a social perspective before, during or after?

Brunner: From a process and strategy perspective, we were very prepared and anticipated the majority of reactions to the ad.

Spredfast: Did you anticipate the level of response around the campaign? We have seen the spot mentioned from many media outlets and celebrities, including Mic.com, The NY Times and Ad Week.

Brunner: We knew that we created an amazing message, and we all believed that it would do well, but I don’t think we anticipated it reaching the success that it did. In addition to AdWeek ranking it as #1, from a social perspective we were trending #4 nationally on Twitter the day of the Super Bowl, and reached #1 on YouTube trending videos…over Lady Gaga.

Spredfast: What is the social strategy for 84 Lumber moving beyond the Super Bowl specifically as it pertains to the Journey 84 campaign—thinking from a listening, engagement, paid and organic perspective? How are you going to extend and nurture the audience you now have captivated?

Brunner: The goal is to retarget those who were moved by the spot and now want to work for a company that stands for something, and get them to apply for a career with 84 Lumber.

Spredfast: A few days after, and because hindsight is 20/20, what are the lessons learned that you will take to your next project or campaign?

Brunner: Considering the volume of conversation that we received, we should have developed a better way at prioritizing messages to focus our efforts on responding to those that would have the biggest impact. Obviously, Intelligence helped us a bit with that, but we didn’t take full advantage of the trending hashtags nor did we create any criteria to help focus our responses. With a bit more planning up front we could’ve been more efficient in responding and yet, had made just as big, or an even bigger, impact.

Curious about how Spredfast can help you strategize, implement, and track your social and digital marketing campaigns? Reach out to our team to request a demo.

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Dalyn lives in Chicago, Illinois (but is a diehard Broncos fan) with his better half and their 3 dogs. He is a long time agency vet—having spent time at shops in both Chicago and NYC. He focuses on building and growing agency partnerships for Spredfast.