Where The Big Marketing Game Is Really Played, And Won: Locally

To CPG brands, the Super Bowl is Christmas in February. While Super Bowl viewership is down, the game is still relevant. Because it’s not just a game, it’s a cultural event — a time to connect your product to pop culture. It’s also a day to overeat, catch up with friends and become an armchair ad critic. What’s not to love?

Putting local activation in the playbook for scoring on the Super Bowl hype before game day is how clever retailers and CPG brands are winning the Super Bowl snacking occasion.

According to SNAC International, only July 4 can compete with the amount of snacks bought for Super Bowl Sunday.  In 2018, Americans purchased $387 million worth snacks for the big game, up from $370 million in 2017. 

This is where the real game is won or lost for marketers.

Consumers spent $38 million on dips, $107 million on tortilla chips and $119 million on potato chips leading up to the Super Bowl, a 36%, 35% and 16% increase, respectively, of the week prior.



I’m still waiting for survey results about how much is spent on antacid products the week after the Super Bowl.

Brands like Mountain Dew, Snickers, Sabra, Doritos, Cheetos, Pepsi, Avocados from Mexico, and Anheuser-Busch are running in-game ads costing more than $5 million for a 30-second spot. But this is just the beginning of what it takes to be successful.

Social media participation has now become a must for brands on Super Bowl Sunday. Next-day water cooler talk now takes a backseat to real-time social media engagement. There’s no longer an excuse to being left out.

Here are some suggestions:

Stay alert and agile in order to interact with users on a real-time level. If something unique or outlandish happens, have faith in your social media team to craft a fast, witty response on the fly that will ultimately drive sales in-store.

Engage with viewers by creating real-time polls or contests.  Appetizing, easy recipe ideas. The Super Bowl is an all-day extravaganza so it’s never too late to offer a meal suggestion from your brand. 

“The way that you extract the most value out of a Super Bowl ad is how you leverage it from a public relations and a social media standpoint,” Bret Werner, president of MWWPR, told Forbes. "It has to go beyond a 30-second spot.”

Brands are not just running a traditional ad; they are connecting with consumers’ notion of engagement. It’s having a story that’s engaging and ultimately drives sales. But how?

By using advertising in the big game to build Awareness, with a message combined with digital/social tactics that Connect with the target audience and anultimate pull through at retail to drive Transactions, a.k.a. sales. A construct called ACT.

Brands must take their $5 million + investment and connect it to an in-store experience. Make it more than a Super Bowl ad. To be successful post-game, marketers must take their national ad to a regional and local level and in-store messaging to realize ROI.

For example, to complement one Super Bowl 53 Ad, the brand created a shopper marketing experience in Atlanta (where Super Bowl 53 was played), Boston and Los Angeles, that included the products stickered with decals and 150 standees placed in-store.

What’s your company’s favorite way to interact with viewers on Super Bowl Sunday?

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