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NuoDB Customer Goes to the Super Bowl

Unless you’re a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, the most engaging aspects of yesterday’s Super Bowl were the ads and the halftime show. Quite frankly, abstaining from viewing is socially unacceptable. How many other chances do you have each year to analyze, dissect and extrapolate on the state of American society!

In all seriousness, the spectacle that is the Super Bowl makes for great water cooler banter the next day. And it’s always healthy to engage in some good-spirited verbal repartee on topics such as who produced the best ad, or the quality of the halftime performance. (My opinion: Bruno brought the roof down.)

As for the ballyhooed TV advertisements, the most effective was… the one that wasn’t. I’m referring to the Esurance contest announced in the first ad that aired after the final whistle. Why was it effective? Because it wasn’t primarily a television advertisement, its reach is much greater. Yes, that’s where it was first planted for the public’s consumption, but it was architected to permeate the main channel of American discourse – Twitter.

There’s a method to this piece of social media madness. It just so happens that there is no direct correlation between high-priced Super Bowl ads and increased sales. A 2013 study by advertising research firm Communicus found that 80 percent of Super Bowl ads are ineffective at convincing a consumer to buy a product or brand.

That’s likely because people don’t watch ads anymore; they’re busy looking down, scanning the activity on Twitter or Facebook. "Second- and third-screen mobile and Web applications get better retention and help those entities that are losing out on ad dollars because of DVRs and lack of interest in traditional ads," says Bruce Grant, CIO of SHOUT, a live-event application developer. Esurance evidently understood this, which is why they went about engineering a Twitter promotion that set the social media sphere ablaze.

As advertisers and marketers scramble to retain viewer attention, they’ve begun to relocate their efforts – moving away from the flat screen and towards the phone, laptop or tablet screen. SHOUT, whose customers include Coca-Cola, Amazon, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Netflix and Hulu, has created an advertising platform for the second and third screen.

Their application enhances the viewing experience by making it interactive. The people have spoken, they don’t want to simply watch a program, they want to engage and interact with its content. SHOUT has created an environment for this by posing questions to its users while they watch a live event. They use their phone to view and respond to the questions and are rewarded with prizes after a certain number of successful prognostications.

Yesterday, SHOUT made their Super Bowl debut, a demanding environment in which millions of people were simultaneously using their app – the majority of respondents within 15-seconds of a question being asked.

As the CIO of SHOUT, Grant was tasked with finding a database that allowed his company’s application to operate as intended. He needed a DBMS that could scale out to handle huge spikes in activity, and then scale back in at times with no events. NuoDB’s automation console is able to manage their resources, automatically reallocating infrastructure to meet their needs. It also demanded a DBMS with continuous availability for them to ask questions, receive answers and access scores and stats in real time. Grant found NuoDB, a cloud database that was specifically designed to meet the challenges he faced.

Most database software solutions felt like "trying to put a square peg in a round hole," says Grant, "taking something that existed and adding on to them in a way they were not designed to work."

Contact us to learn more about our customer SHOUT and NuoDB.

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