The commercials that air throughout the Super Bowl are a time-honored tradition in the football-watching world (America). However, what was once the Monday morning water-cooler topic of conversation, has evolved into something much greater. As the marketing industry continues to change, these game-day advertising campaigns now begin long before kickoff, and continue way after the Lombardy trophy finds its' new home. Traditional marketing campaigns have a hard time surviving on their own in the digital world. No matter how memorable the commercial may have been, it needs to have a digital component to supplement the campaign, and keep it fresh in the minds of audience members. If you want your next marketing effort to be talked about and remembered, take a note from the companies that topped our list of the best digital marketing campaigns of this year's Super Bowl.
For Amazon's Super Bowl commercial debut, Alec Baldwin hosted "The Baldwin Bowl" as a way of promoting the Amazon Echo and virtual assistant Alexa. For the days and weeks leading up to the big game, celebrities like Missy Elliot (who ended up being featured in the commercial) took to social media to show that they were invited to "The Baldwin Bowl," and planned on attending. It wasn't until game day that we found out it was actually for the commercial, rather than a real party we all wish we were invited to.
The company released two commercials, one during the game and one after, and the team managing the Amazon Echo Twitter account immediately congratulated the victorious Broncos with a little video. This was among a number of other supplementary videos that were posted throughout the game to accent the commercial itself, spitting out various facts about Alec Baldwin and Dan Marino and even updates on the score of the game.
They were setting the scene for their Amazon Echo advertisement from before the Super Bowl even began, and maintained it throughout the night. It's one of the commercials that everyone is talking about, and current Amazon Echo owners are using social media to share their experiences with the product, helping the hashtags #AskAlexa and #BaldwinBowl gain some traction. To top it all off, Amazon Prime is now streaming Missy Elliot's new song Pep Rally that premiered during the commercial. The number of things actually being advertised within this campaign is hard to keep track of, but it's a great example of how these successful Super Bowl marketing campaigns actually begin long before the Super Bowl itself. Businesses are no longer restricted to a 30 second ad spot, and are able to stretch their creativity to multiple channels for a longer period of time (and a smaller budget).
CFDA & NFL: Bespoke Designer Footballs
In preparation for the Super Bowl 50 (and a little thing called New York Fashion Week), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the National Football League (NFL) teamed up with 50 designers to customize their own footballs and auction them off with all proceeds benefitting the NFL Foundation. From Tiffany & Co. to Betsey Johnson, many of the designers took to Twitter and Instagram to promote their bedazzled footballs, and encourage fans to bid on their respective items in the weeks leading up to the big game.
While you may not immediately think of the fashion and sports industries joining forces, this campaign pays homage to the fashionable football fandom by saying that you can be a diehard fan, and look good while doing it. Crossing these two unique demographics, was a great way of getting two different audiences involved with one worthy cause that was relevant to the big game. The designs (like Rachel Zoe's pictured below) were on display at various events around Levi's Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, allowing fans in the area to get a good look, and share their experiences on social media. This campaign was a great example of cross-promoting industries, and using digital media to get audiences involved.
The designer footballs are still up for auction at NFL.com/auction until February 14th, so bid on them while you still can!
Gatorade Bath Snapchat Lens
Snapchat is a frontier that advertisers have begun to explore while trying to manifest destiny and reach the millennial market. Gatorade utilized a customized lens to fulfill everyone's secret desire to have a famous "Gatorade Bath," and become a part of the Super Bowl tradition of having a bucket of the stuff dumped on your head. This is what it feels like to win the big game, and this is what it looks like to successfully market your product on a social media platform. On any normal day, a sponsored Snapchat lens can cost a company $350,000. However, on days like holidays or the Super Bowl (an unofficial holiday) the price is estimated to exceed $750,000. This may be a lot to risk on a social media campaign, but when you weigh the audience reach, and compare the price to a $5,000,000 commercial slot, it's a creative and unique way of selling your product.
PepsiCo, the company that owns Gatorade, is all too familiar with Super Bowl advertisements. They own the halftime show, and fill most of the available advertising spots each year with their products (Pepsi, Doritos, etc.) Their Snapchat efforts were abundant this year, and the Gatorade filter was a perfect look at how marketing surrounding the Super Bowl is going to continuously evolve in future games.
Uber: Puppy Bowl
Maybe more important than the actual Super Bowl, is the annual Puppy Bowl that airs on Animal Planet. This year they teamed up with Uber and the Humane Society of New York the week before the big game to bring puppies right to your door after requesting them through the Uber app. Then you would have time to play, snuggle, and even adopt the little pups! As avid puppy lovers, we here at BFM had multiple people trying to get these puppies to come and visit us that morning. Just when we thought all hope was lost, and all the puppies were "currently being snuggled" by some other lucky individuals, we got the call that we were about to have some fluffy visitors!
It was a lot of fun, so naturally we are big fans of how this marketing campaign was executed. All day long you would find #UberPuppyBowl on almost every major social media platform with people sharing their puppy pictures. Different adoption organizations in major cities across the US took place in the promotion, marketing the Puppy Bowl, finding the dogs homes, and turning an average work day into something much more enjoyable.
The blend of offline and online advertising is something that marketers should be taking note of when coming up with creative strategies. While both channels can be influential on their own, the magic really happens when they come together for one successful and cohesive marketing campaign. What were some of your favorite marketing campaigns from the big game this year? Leave a comment below, or tweet us your thoughts @BFMweb.