Using Brand Experiences To Turn Super Bowl Viewers Into Lifelong Fans

Marketers’ big game is just around the corner and whether viewers are rooting for the Chiefs or the 49ers, brands with the right game plan can win customer loyalty and create lifelong fans.

According to a Nielsen report, a record-breaking 115.1 million viewers tuned in to watch last year’s Super Bowl and, this year, some are waiting to see if the ‘Taylor Swift Effect’ will influence viewership, driving numbers even higher.    

Strong viewership is great, but it’s not enough to just be seen for those precious :15 or :30 second slots to make a lasting impact.

Throughout the years, we’ve been seeing brands getting creative with their game day strategies to stand out and make a lasting impact. The time difference alone between watching a 30-second ad and exploring a 30-minute brand experience is significant -- and there’s a sense of human connection and authenticity that can’t be replicated on TV.



For example, Stella Artois opted out of a Super Bowl commercial in 2020 to debut Port de Stella in Miami, the Super Bowl host city, with a fully immersive experience that included tastemaker experts, dining experiences, and boat rides from South Beach to Downtown Miami.    

While classic advertising tactics like ads are centered around getting people to love a brand and buy it, experiential marketing (XM) is about driving people to feel something about a brand on a deeper level that you can’t get in just 30 seconds.

Ideally, someone walks into the experience feeling one way about a brand and leaves with a new feeling of connection to that brand, and other brand fans who shared that same experience. In today's world, with shrinking attention spans, immersive and memorable activations can break through the noise and make a brand feel much more authentic, human and relatable.    

Brand Authenticity   

Just because it’s a Super Bowl activation, doesn’t mean it has to be all about the Chiefs, the 49ers, or even football.

The most successful experiences are authentic to the brand – everything from the brand ambassadors who engage with people, to the content creators that promote it, to the touch and feel of the space – everything should be consistent with the brand and its attributes in order for it to resonate genuinely and authentically.

For Super Bowl, maybe it’s a relaxing experience to escape the craziness or a play on appetizers and popular game day snacks; whatever message the brand is trying to get across, it can be experienced and break through amongst the Big Game hype.   

Amplifying Experiences  

In today’s content heavy world, in order to land a message and truly connect someone to a brand for the long term, the message should feel consistent and brought to life in creative ways throughout the media mix. There are opportunities to multiply campaign reach by layering in other tactics like content creators with an authentic following in the space, social media amplification, and traditional advertising.     

Using technology to solve for a human insight, challenge, or to add an element of fun is a win.

Whether it's AI, AR, VR, or even a simple QR code -- using technology to engage people in innovative, memorable, and buzzworthy ways with your brand will be key to growing brand fanbase and brand love longevity.

This year’s Miller Lite "Running of the Beer Ads" campaign is a great example of this. It's a clever idea and is consumer engagement first, using technology to make the experience seamless and enable the campaign to work.    

In addition, brands can use the national excitement of Super Bowl to reach different markets, it’s not just limited to Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Kansas City.

While there will be lots of buzz around Allegiant stadium, there are opportunities in nearly every US market to partner with restaurants and bars, colleges, and other local venues around game day and beyond.    

Post Game Playbook 

Don’t let the campaign end on Sunday evening. Marketers should consider how their tentpole Super Bowl moment can adapt to a scaled-down playbook that can easily activate the brand and plug into other markets, audiences, and formats during other brand relevant moments throughout the year.

Whether a brand is going all in on a Super Bowl spot or finding other ways to engage audiences beyond it, creating ways for humans to experience your brand in highly engaging memorable ways will help build long-lasting connections.   

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