The singer Prince was on the mind of many Super Bowl LII viewers during the big game. According to CBS Sports, the top trending question on Google was “Where was Prince from?”. This was likely asked after the Halftime Show posthumously featured the artist. The second question also had nothing to do with football: “How old is Steven Tyler?” (the Aerosmith front man had appeared in a Kia commercial). Finally, viewers asked about the game – its score – only to change the subject again. The next two questions surrounded Halftime Show performer, Justin Timberlake. In short, the Google search alone makes it clear that the appeal of the Super Bowl is much more than the sport of football.
An average 103.4 million people tuned in their TVs at home to watch the game. Yet, when it came time for Timberlake’s performance, that number would jump to add an additional three million. And, these figures don’t include the multitudes of people at viewing parties held in homes, bars, restaurants, hotels, theaters and other venues. The Super Bowl and its experience are big business. Brands see the potential and use the “big game” to execute stand-out campaigns, supplying the rest of us with some of the best sports marketing ideas.
A 2013 study tells us that men are “twice as likely as females to be involved or interested in sports.” But, Super Bowl LII stats show otherwise. TVision Insights reports women paid more attention than men to the game – 27% more, as well as to the Halftime Show (23%) and commercials (26%). And, marketers that know sports’ fan bases are growing more diverse.
The desire for an experience is at an all-time high. And, an article by The Washington Posttells us what we look for in an experience can be found in sports. It says, “sports help fill the need to connect with others, the desire for a transient but thrilling moment.” This gives companies access to people young and old, male and female. In turn, smart brands execute various campaigns at a number of sporting events to appeal to target audiences. And, with its popularity, year after year, the Super Bowl is the sports marketing standard-bearer.
Below are 4 brands that showed us the bests in sports marketing this year at the Super Bowl.
Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to guerrilla marketing, having executed publicity stunts over the years to attract attention. Their approach to the Super Bowl was different from their norm, though still unconventional.
The luxury automobile brand launched a contest dubbed “The Last Fan Standing.” It gave eligible people a chance to win a 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 Coupe valued over $60,000. All one needed to participate was a smartphone, Internet connection, a finger and good concentration. The objective was to keep a finger on the car shown on the smartphone screen while faced with distractions and obstacles. The “last fan standing” – the one to escape elimination – won the car. Mercedes-Benz threw players a bone by allowing them to earn one five-minute timeout. They only had to Tweet about the contest, which was a highly-effective campaign amplification strategy.
The good and bad news is the contest was met with such enthusiasm, participation ‘broke’ their website. The winner was instead chosen by random drawing, but, in the end, thousands of eyes were on Mercedes-Benz during the game.
Mercedes-Benz wasn’t the only automotive giant taking advantage of the Super Bowl’s reach. Ford leapt at the opportunity, like it always does when it comes to the NFL. This year, the brand got into the spirit of Minneapolis’s cold weather by offering passersby an authentic experience – sleigh rides, specifically a Built Ford Tough Sleigh Ride. The effort featured giant sleighs pulled by Ford trucks, which offered rides to two stops near the Super Bowl LIVE event. At one stop, fans could meet NFL players and football legends and view Ford trucks. And, at both stops, they could enter to win 2018 season tickets for their favorite NFL team. There’s no doubt this activation won fans over with its convenience, fun, and excitement.
Super Bowl LII and Polaris were a match made in Minneapolis. After all, the snowmobile and ATV manufacturer makes its home in Minnesota. So, it was only fitting for it to bring some of its adventurous spirit to the excitement surrounding the big game. And it went big.
The Polaris UpsideDowntown activation featured giveaways, appearances from professional snowmobile athletes and best yet, snowmobile stunts. But, the biggest draw was a never-before-performed stunt by Levi LaVallee, seven-time Winter X Games gold medal winner. LaVallee completed a 100-foot backflip, while on a snowmobile, over the Nicollet Mall. It was a risky move by LaVallee, but one that shocked and awed viewers, making it a win for Polaris.
AT&T subsidiary and satellite service provider, DirecTV, hosts a pre-game party every year. It’s been said it’s so extravagant it “might rival the game’s halftime show.” This year was no exception.
A crowd of 8,000, including celebrities, were treated to multiple experiences. The grandest for many was the concert from Jennifer Lopez. Yet, no one can deny the other immersive elements executed in collaboration with experiential agency, Blue Revolver. These included interactive boomboxes that, when pressing the play button, activated music, lights and dancers. Similarly, kinetic LED walls let guests tinker with the event’s logo made up of “deconstructed floral elements.”
The event also highlighted a cause near to Lopez’s heart – Puerto Rico hurricane relief. To encourage guests to donate, they enjoyed a safari tour of a small replica of the island’s El Yunque rainforest. It featured “native plants, dancers painted as creatures, and hologram animals.” Perhaps, the smartest detail by DirecTV was its live streaming of the event. Not only did they blow the minds of those in attendance, they were able to reach thousands on Facebook for maximum return on engagement. This brand, and all the others, proved that the best sports marketing ideas can be big without being just about the game.
At Elevate, we know first-hand the potential in sports marketing. Contact us to learn about our staffing and execution services.