More than just a night for sports

For nearly 60 years, the Superbowl has been considered to be one of the biggest sporting events in the US. While it’s carved out a distinct place within the sporting community, it’s also continued to evolve into more than just a night for sports. It’s now become a massive night where popular brands can strut their stuff and celebrities headline during the highly anticipated halftime show. Not only is this a night for football, but also a night for companies to make their mark for the coming year. Superbowl LVII garnered close to 113 million viewers, more than it’s seen in previous years, as onlookers waited in anticipation for what the night would hold – a favorable outcome from the game, the commercials, and the halftime performance.

As we think about what viewers are experiencing during the Superbowl, the question begs, what does a brand need to do to stand out on this momentous night? It tends to change year by year, but there is a commonality – brands typically aim to capture popular attention and be talked about favorably in the days preceding Sunday night. Even further, as social media continues to be firmly ingrained in our society, commercials or advertisements going viral have presented yet another layer of consideration when determining the overall success of branded advertisements.

There’s no doubt that brands have to walk a fine line. Airtime during the Superbowl carries a hefty price tag – 30 seconds started around $7 million this year – which brings on the creative pressure to make a positive impact. Carry out a successful Superbowl commercial, and you’ll be reaping the rewards in the form of sales and online searches. Failure to do so can result in casting a black cloud over a brand, sometimes laced with unfortunate implications. This year did present a slight range of Superbowl commercials, some with the aim of addressing more serious societal topics, but they were largely upbeat with many opting in for a comedic approach to call out their product offerings. A perfect example was the widely mentioned Tubi commercial that tricked many viewers into thinking someone had touched the remote, thus changing the channel to the Tubi streaming service.

In addition to big brands trying to establish themselves on Superbowl Sunday, celebrities often use this day to promote their own brands or causes they support. Taking a leaf out of the book of celebrity endorsements, Rhianna used her own performance during the halftime show to not only showcase her musical talents but to also bolster her makeup brand Fenty Beauty by physically using one of the products during the show. This goes to show that in the world of advertising, you can see just about anything during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

As brands continue to strive towards making themselves known in an ever-changing world, it goes to show that there is always a creative approach to getting the attention of a consumer. While traditional approaches can be safe, some companies have seen massive success when implementing innovation within their brand strategy. All to say, the road less traveled, when applied appropriately, can reap major rewards for those who choose to travel it.

We were interested to note one of our own partner agencies Neil Dawson & Co taking a very different approach this year with another sporting hero brand; ASICS. Neil Dawson & Co worked with ASICS to look at their brand foundation and philosophy. ASICS is an acronym of ‘Anima Sana In Corpore Sano’… or for us non-Latin speakers: A healthy mind in a healthy body. Asics and Dawson looked at this fundamental claim and produced a documentary looking at whether fitness and a healthy/healthier body, could improve the mind. The documentary looked at how the performance of professional mental athletes: chess players, e-sports players, and Mahjong players could improve their mental performance by improving their physical performance. Fascinating stuff and a fascinating way to really get people involved in your brand and your philosophy… In brand and marketing terms, certainly, a road less traveled but one we think more brands will be traveling down this year.

By: Hannah O'Keefe

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