Brands to Watch During Super Bowl Week

By Joe Londergan, @Joehio_

Marshawn Lynch shared his candy with some new friends as part of Skittles' campaign for Super Bowl LI. Photo via @Skittles

Marshawn Lynch shared his candy with some new friends as part of Skittles' campaign for Super Bowl LI. Photo via @Skittles

With 115 million people watching the Super Bowl last year, it has become the ultimate opportunity for brand exposure.

While there are some brands who can afford the $5 million starting rate for a commercial and use it effectively, that isn’t necessarily essential anymore to own the conversation. Social media has also proved to be incredibly valuable in capitalizing on that massive audience.

Some brands even go the route of crashing the events leading up to the game in creative ways. Look for these brands to capitalize on this opportunity to tell their unique stories in captivating ways this week.

Skittles

Skittles has always had a taste for the wonderfully weird in terms of their advertising. Their campaign for this year centers around endorser and former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch making a trip to Houston…Houston, Scotland that is.

The video was released on social media early Monday and it consists mostly of Lynch speaking with locals about kilts, cultural differences, and how Scots perceive the game of football all the while munching on Skittles with his new friends.

I find so much to like about it because it’s a perfect example of what is essential to make influencer marketing work: authenticity. They let the influencer be himself and incorporate the product naturally. It fits very well with every other time Marshawn Lynch has been in front of a camera since his retirement.

Lynch also does something resembling the Stanky Leg while playing bag pipes. It’s just spectacular.

Anheuser-Busch

The brewing giant, and NFL sponsor, has stated that they will air commercials for four of their beers: Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Busch, and Budweiser. The ad for Budweiser is shaping up to be a conversation starter based on the fifteen second teaser the company released earlier in the week.

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The ad will center around the story of the company’s founder, Adolphus Busch, who immigrated to the United States in the 1850’s.

 

What’s particularly intriguing about the Budweiser ad is the narrative surrounding an immigrant coming to the U.S. and seeking success and happiness. While the brand insists the ad is not aimed to be political (which makes sense considering the ad was conceptualized and filmed far in advance), there’s a great potential to get people talking regardless given the current situation regarding immigration in America and how those stories may or may not relate to Busch’s.

(via underarmour on Instagram)

(via underarmour on Instagram)

The apparel company endorses a key offensive player on both teams in Tom Brady of the Patriots and Julio Jones of the Falcons. Either way, Under Armour will have something to celebrate at the end of the day.

Jessica Smith and the UA digital team are continuing to highlight those two stars on the social side.

Additionally, UA is in a unique position where even though Nike is the official apparel sponsor of the league, UA is the official apparel of the NFL Combine in early March.

It seems reasonable that UA will use this weekend to start building anticipation for that event and their official line for this year’s event in the process.

 

Houston Texans

While the Texans aren’t playing in the game itself, their city and their stadium will play host to it. This provides some unique opportunity for engagement and exposure with so many people watching the events of the week transpire in the Texans’ facilities.

They’ve done some small things already with the team’s cheer leaders and mascot making the rounds at radio row and players and staffers leading a Snapchat takeover and a Periscope tour of Super Bowl Opening Night.

Sports marketers in training should take note of what they do and apply those lessons to when their team, university, or organization hosts a neutral site event.

PepsiCo

Having been an NFL sponsor for over 30 years, the company rarely misses an opportunity to activate in interesting ways around the sport. The brand has even had a website up all year selling Pepsi and NFL branded tailgating gear. It all culminates on Sunday with Pepsi being the official sponsor of the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga.

Plus, can they outdo “PuppyMonkeyBaby?" The hilarious/disturbing Mountain Dew Kickstart campaign owned the non-football conversation preceding, during, and for weeks after last year’s game. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the character itself didn’t make some sort of surprise appearance in a commercial.

 

Honorable Mentions: Patriots and Falcons

At the risk of stating the obvious, all eyes of the sports world will be on these two teams this weekend. Look for the digital teams of both franchises to capitalize on being front and center on the game’s biggest stage. Clearly there is more than one way to tell a good story and these brands and many others will prove that all throughout the week.

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