Super Bowl LII: 5 Questions With Wix CMO Omer Shai

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Wix Super Bowl LII late ad buy with Rhett and Link

Wix.com made an eleventh-hour decision to advertise in Super Bowl LII after initially swearing off the Big Game this year, thanks to the late opportunity of a discount-priced 30-second slot during the NBC telecast on Sunday—and to the website builder’s digital ninja skills to quickly edit a spot, even for such a big stage.

“We got a great offer to run a spot in Super Bowl, and although we had less than 24 hours to decide and deliver, we made the decision to go for it,” CMO Omer Shai stated. “Wix will feature its online partnership with Rhett & Link, who provide peeks inside how easy and fun the site-building process is with Wix.”

Rhett & Link is the stage name for the American comedy YouTubers Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III, who have been featured in Wix’s digital marketing campaign for the past few months.

Wix.com is no stranger to Super Bowl advertising, having staged some memorable Big Game commercials from 2015 through last year. Sometimes running neck-and-neck for Super Bowl advertising attention with web-building rival GoDaddy.com, Wix last year featured Jason Statham and Gal Gadot for an action-packed spot. Previous spots featured Kung Fu Panda 3 and NFL legends including Brett Favre.

In November, Shai announced that Wix would foreswear Super Bowl advertising and much of its TV advertising emphasis in favor of digital advertising with influencers such as Rhett & Link, British YouTuber James Veitch, model Karlie Kloss, Will Ferrell’s Cord Hosenbeck character and techie vlogger iJustine.

In part the tactical switch away from Super Bowl reflected Wix’s outreach to web creators with a new campaign to promote Code, a tool geared toward more web designers and developers, not the web design newbies that were Wix’s primary marketing target.

Another factor: While GoDaddy is sitting out this year’s Super Bowl, there has been considerable buzz around Keanu Reeves signing up for a self-spoofing campaign (doing his own stuntwork) with rival DIY website-builder Squarespace in this Super Bowl.

Underscoring its commitment to digital influencers, in October Wix signed an endorsement deal with Rhett & Link, hosts of the popular web series, “Good Mythical Morning“; a comedy series called “Rhett & Link’s Buddy System” on YouTube Red; for their weekly podcast, “Ear Biscuits”; and co-authors of a new book. Wix also hosts the website for Mythical, the duo’s entertainment company, lifestyle brand and creative collective.

Omer Shai - CMO of Wix and Wix.comShai (right) says that promoting Rhett & Link in Super Bowl LII will “truly bridge the gap” between Wix’s online base and the traditional TV audience, as he explains in a Q&A below:

What inspired the 11th hour decision to place an ad in this year’s Super Bowl?

I woke up at quarter-to-six on Thursday morning in Israel and got a message from a friend of mine who used to write TV commercials for Wix, Mark Zamuner from Two Nil.  He told me that NBC just contacted him and they had one spot left and the price is going to be great. We talked for an hour. This is where we started the conversation about us maybe doing it again.

So the price was right and the opportunity was too good to pass up?

The price was really good and we didn’t have any additional production costs. We enhanced creative that we already had. We shipped the commercial at 1 a.m. the day after in Israel. It’s part of what makes our department and our company so great and when we see opportunities and the price is right, we will do it.

Can you elaborate on how you enhanced creative you already had in hand?

You can’t create something that would look good in such a short period of time. We used some stuff we had from the campaign and did some small editing. We had three hours of editing and we shipped it. It was planned [for online video only]. We hadn’t planned to do a TV campaign. This is content that was intended for online.

We are very, very proud of our product, and any time we can put our product in the center we have to do so. A lot of the story is happening inside the product and there are a lot of views of the product in the TV ad.

Why did originally decide to skip this year’s Super Bowl after scoring with last year’s ad with Jason Statham and Gal Gadot?

Our “decision not to” was to allocate our budget differently (by spending) online with influencers. But eventually there is a price at which it was reasonable to (buy a Super Bowl ad) and the decision to go with Rhett & Link had been complementary to our decision to go online.

The amount of views we have and will have to Rhett & Link is supportive of the cost of a commercial. It will make our decision to go online better. We are talking about an opportunity that not a lot of companies can take advantage of.

How are you using this to extend your current digital and influencer marketing efforts?

Rhett & Link already shipped new content yesterday that will support our campaign. They are similar to us in working fast with a sense of humor, and today or tomorrow we are going to start publishing a piece of content that they already created for the Super Bowl. This is crazy.

What would you say to skeptics who might suggest this was your plan all along, to create extra buzz, and that you’re executing it brilliantly?

I’m pretty excited to see the smiles of my team members. The decision to go and do what we did (with this impromptu decision) made them proud and happy to be part of a team that can do something like that.


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