In reference to the global pandemic, last year’s and this year’s Super Bowl activation companies drew out a considerably different plan. For starters, Zoom watch parties are replaced with in-person parties while stadium crowds are smaller than before.
Besides viewership, COVID 19 pandemic is even reshaping 2 other core components of the big game, public relations and advertising that surround Super Bowl activation companies.
If the Super Bowl were not happening in the course of a pandemic, brands would actually be flooding Tampa right now with crucial special events, press conferences, athlete spokespeople and parties.
This specific level of on-site PR activity is not occurring this year and many of the brands are turning down the idea of usual advertising efforts even. Coca-cola, Avocados from Mexico and Ford are some of the mainstay advertisers that take seats on the sidelines.
There are numerous factors behind the decision of these brands. Few of those factors involve pressures regarding marketing budgets, concerns in case if it is the correct surrounding to advertise in, uncertainty regarding ROI (Return On Investment) and fear of scrutiny.
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However, not to say that there is zero activation activity presently. There is activation on both public relations and advertising fronts – it only appears different in the Zoom Super Bowl.
In case of starters, the brands that will be placing the spots involve a blend of familiar names like M&M’s, Toyota and Pringles and the up & corners that have flourished in the course of pandemic and look forward to building on this success with the first time Super Bowl commercials like Vroom, Fiverr and TikTok.
Though the popular Radio Row is much smaller currently owing to social distancing norms, brands still are very engaging with media virtually by promising the accessibility to the athlete spokesperson.
Convergence of cause and culture
There is even a shift in the tone of the present year. Cause and culture are converging in this specific surrounding. Most of the brands have well recognized the uniquely aligned psychographic amongst American consumers in the year 2021.
Most of the individuals are way too isolated and are looking out for escapism and optimism. Brands can highly bridge such missing connections for the peeps and provide a form of messaging that endows them with a break from routine bad news.
Consumers will be particularly receptive to the cause-related initiatives even this year. Time & time again, many of the studies reveal that doing good actually results in a positive outcome.
Most of the consumers highly value brands that aim at giving back and what is more, the media outlets like to cover social good efforts from the brands.
Note that brands are already emphasizing the cause linked initiatives about the Super Bowl. Most notably, the NFL revealed that it would send roughly over 7,000 healthcare workers for the game.
The next example is DoorDash which features Daveed Diggs along with important Sesame Street characters in the debut commercial on the game day, which is bolstering its major campaigns with philanthropy.
Going beyond the 30-second spot
DoorDash running their first SuperBowl commercial was the focus and impetus of media coverage that the company got. However, the philanthropic partnership between Sesame Workshop and DoorDash would have got the earned media even without having to correspond to the SuperBowl advertisement.
It gets us to the next point: Receiving brand messages out in lead up to big happenings such as SuperBowl is not based on paid advertising. Before the pandemic, NFL credentialed more than 5,000 members of the media to be onsite of every SuperBowl.
This will not be the case currently. Instead of meeting in person at the Radio Row with the PR executives, key people and marketers to secure the pre-game stories, the journalists have been doing the same over Zoom.
Lack of in-person linked events have resulted in a huge coverage gap, but PR executives can step forward and develop the storyline assisting their clients to secure important coverage.
This specific SuperBowl presents an endless number of storylines PR executives can bring up – hero vs. hero, persistence in tough times & hope, to name a few. The monumental match-up between the legendary quarterback and emerging star quarterback has attracted people. Anticipation is off the charts because people wait for such 2 influential players to fight for the same prize.
On the advertising front, those brands that leverage smartly such storylines by developing branded content that goes back to the big game will turn into a positive part of communication in pages of Facebook newsfeeds and The New York Times.