Shaq's Fun House, 2022
At $7 million a pop for a TV spot, advertising during the Super Bowl is still one of the biggest (if not the biggest) advertising events in the world. But it’s not just about TV advertising. We’re big fans of the way the Super Bowl reaches people, as experiential marketing takes a lead role in both generating coverage and creating standout branded experiences.
Such is the relationship between brands and the event, the Super Bowl even has its own “Experience” convention, which this year ran for a full three days prior to the game. As our highlights show, brands didn’t even need to be anywhere near Los Angeles (where the Super Bowl was held) to get in on the action. Although digital channels are eating into traditional TV ad spend, experiential events will always remain a vital part of the mix. Here are some of the activations we enjoyed:
SMIRNOFF: “Last Frontier” and the “Smirnoff House”
At first glance, having two campaigns running in Alaska and California simultaneously might be a tall order, but somehow beverage brand Smirnoff managed to pull it off.
Bringing to life their “no fan left behind” strategy, they wanted to make sure the 2% of workers who don’t get time off to watch the game got exactly that. Even if it meant travelling 100 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska, to find work-weary miners.
Because of their busy work schedules mining for gold, they couldn’t watch the game, so Smirnoff (helped by Taylor Strategy) set-up a Watch Party at their base, with the bonus addition of NFL legend Vernon Davis offering a one-of-a-kind virtual invitation to the party in the days leading up to the game.
Smirnoff, The Last Frontier
Located just off the steps to the Stadium, the brand also had a more traditional experiential set-up with the “Smirnoff House”, a 40 x 50 ft area with a shipping container converted into a backyard bar. Open to ticket holders, guests could relax in a fully branded living room, help themselves to snacks and water from their kitchen, and get a pic to remember the occasion from their AR photobooth.
Smirnoff House, 2022
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL: “Shaq’s Fun House”
You know you’re doing something right in events when you’re coming back for the sixth time, and that’s exactly what basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal was doing this year, when he put on his part-carnival, part-music festival, “Shaq’s Fun House”.
The event took place a couple of days prior to game day, and attracted over 5,000 people. There were aerialists and pop-up performers, an 80-foot slide, a Ferris wheel (branded by key sponsor FTX), bumper cars and oversize arcade games. Plus there were performances by Zedd, Lil Wayne, Diplo and DJ Diesel (Shaq himself).
Big sponsors were integral to the event, bringing their own set-up to the carnival. Pepsi created a custom speakeasy, Bud Light Seltzer brought a bar, and Papa Johns brought the pizza.
Shaq's Fun House, 2022
GROUPON: “Party Like a Player”
Activities and events are Groupon’s product, so it only made sense they should maximise this fact for their own Super Bowl activation. But moving away from their usual offerings of spa treatments and “dad experience” days, they teamed up with NFL Tight End, Rob Gronkowski, for their “Party Like a Player” competition.
While Gronkowski was away for the Super Bowl, Groupon gave one contest winner and 15 of their friends the chance to stay at his 4,486 square-foot mansion. The game day experience included beer and wine tastings, an indoor "bounce house”, mini golf, axe-throwing and a hot stone massage station.
For those who didn’t score the big prize, Groupon offered other “baller” prizes, like a trip to Las Vegas and a VIP Harlem Globetrotters experience.
Groupon, Party Like a Player
Bloomingdale’s: “Beauty Tailgate” Party
Bloomingdale’s were able to bring an altogether different experience to the Super Bowl party, catering specifically for the NFL's female fans. Working with Estée Lauder and agency Coffee 'n Clothes, they produced a "beauty tailgate” party at the Century City mall.
Visitors could get complimentary touch-ups from MAC, Clinique and Bobbi Brown, plus food and beverage and branded tailgate games like beer pong and Jenga.
Having your makeup done and then downing beers is a unique mix, but the really interesting point is that the brand didn’t need to be anywhere near the stadium to be part of the fun and capture the Super Bowl magic - a testament to how tightly linked brands are to the sport itself.
Bloomingdales, Beauty Tailgate Party
Bud Light: “Super Bowl Music Festival”
One of the biggest activations was brought by Bud Light (the official beer sponsor of the NFL) who put on their third Super Bowl Music Festival. Held at the 20,000 capacity Crypto.com Arena, the three-night festival featured an array of all-star artists, from Green Day to Miley Cyrus, giving Super Bowl fans music performances above and beyond the halftime show.