Super Bowl Branding Blitz

Super Bowl Sunday: Where Branding and Football Collide!

Unless you have been living “off-the-grid” or “under a rock” you know that “The Big Game” ie. “The Super Bowl” is this Sunday.

I’m married to a huge sports fan, he watches all the games, knows stats about all the teams and participates in fun office pools. Me, I’m not. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I understand the game … the knowledge was passed to me throughout our 34 years of being together. But when it comes to The Super Bowl, I’m watching for a different reason – The Branding and Marketing.

So, I thought today, we’d have a little fun and talk about The Branding (and marketing) of it all…

So here are a few questions to think about….

The Art of Winning: Team Colors, Mascots, and Helmets

Let’s start with the team colors. This is part of their brand. I know a lot of people choose who they think will win the game by the statistics, maybe who won the coin toss or many other reasons. For me, I’m choosing who I think will win the game by looking at the teams colors, their mascot, how their helmets look and their over-all brand – because let’s face it, we all have an opinion on how cool we think each team looks (or not).

Now let’s take this concept a bit further and look at this concept in our every day lives. Let’s say one of the main reasons why people buy into purchasing any product is not just about what that product can do for you but what their brand looks like. Because, when choosing like things (be it widgets or gizmos … or even sports teams), your mind chooses the one who you can relate to more and which one is more visually appealing to you.

Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and the Super Bowl Shuffle

How about the other buzz going around that doesn’t have anything to do with Football (well kind of) – The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce show? Will Taylor make it to the game (coming from her overseas show) in time? Will she make it back in time to perform her next show? How much airtime will she be shown (asking for all Swifties around the world)? Or, for the die-hard football fans – are the cameras really showing her (Taylor) again? – she is distracting from my game!

The Taylor and Travis factor are two big brands themselves but combining them made an explosion. I’m sure you’ve seen the Non-Football fan posts that say “I’m watching the Taylor Swift Concert and why is there is football game happening in the background?” Or, “Why are they showing so much of the football game, all I want to see is the Taylor Swift Show?” I know I’m tuning in just to see what happens next and was not disappointed by the Jason Kelce appearance (it was a bit like watching reality TV). But why is this big? Well, two huge brands collided. Taylor brought her millions of fans (her Swifties) along and introduced them to her boyfriend, Travis, who happens to be his own big brand, playing for his team, The Kansas City Chiefs (another big brand) who are part of an even bigger brand – The NFL. This is a win-win-win all the way around. More Swifties are becoming football fans and more Travis and NFL fans are becoming more familiar with Taylor Swift, her music, and her brand.

Now let’s take a closer look at this and how this can happen in our everyday world. This is called Co-Branding, where two brands collaborate for a mutual benefit. In 2015, Starbucks partnered with Spotify to create personalized playlists for its customers. When patrons connected to Starbucks’ Wi-Fi, they could access the Starbucks app and discover the music playing in the store. Additionally, they could save the songs to their Spotify accounts and explore curated playlists from Starbucks baristas. Or, another example is Nintendo and Universal Studios. They collaborated to bring beloved video game characters to life in theme parks. The Super Nintendo World attraction at Universal Studios Japan features interactive rides, themed areas, and real-life adventures inspired by Nintendo games like Super Mario. The partnership aims to create immersive experiences for fans of both brands. How might you co-brand with another business partner to help advance both brands?

The Super Bowl Commercial Playbook

How about those commercials – where branding meets marketing? …Ahhh, my happy place. I’m not going to lie, before the Taylor and Travis show, this is why I watched the Super Bowl (well that and the party, friends, and food). And, before there were leaked ads, I loved it when you couldn’t leave the room when it was time for commercials because you were going to miss watching something fun and exciting. This year we know the Budweiser Clydesdale horses will be back and I can’t wait to see it and watch the others. These commercials stay in our minds for sometimes years making them a good investment for brands. I have several from the past that are my all-time favorites. They include the Coca-Cola – “Hey kid, catch!” commercial from 1980 where a young boy got tossed a jersey from Mean Joe Greene after they shared a Coke. Another was the Volkswagen commercial from 2011 where the young boy dressed up as Darth Vader used “The Force” to turn on his dad’s car. Or, the very funny (and quirky) Old Spice commercials where Isaiah Mustafa humorously promotes Old Spice body wash. Those ads went on for a few Super Bowls, it was almost like how they one-up the previous year’s commercial. And, most recently last year, we had the heart-tugging introduction to Farmer’s Dog dog food that had the tagline of “Nothing matters more than more years together” and the very fun (and nostalgic) T-Mobile full 60-second commercial with John Travolta, Zach Braff and Donald Faison singing “Summer Nights” from the movie “Grease”. Super Bowl ads succeed when they combine emotion, creativity, consistency, and relatability. Do you have a favorite? I bet you do.

So how can we reimagine a Super Bowl type ad feeling in our everyday world for our own businesses (like yours and mine)? And, how can strategically leverage Super Bowl ad tactics to promote without breaking the bank – after all, most of us don’t have Super Bowl Ad Money. Here are a few ways I can think of off the top of my head…

  1. Local Partnerships and Events: Collaborate with other local small businesses and host a Super Bowl event. Run contests or giveaways related to the game to engage customers and promote your brand locally.
  2. Social Media Engagement: Use relevant hashtags and themes during the game. Participate in real-time advertising and engage with viewers online. Re-share your campaigns after the event to keep the momentum going.
  3. Creative Content: Design graphics featuring notable plays or game memes during the Super Bowl. Share these on your social media channels. Consider integrating a live score into a short-term promotion related to the game.
  4. Community Involvement: Align your brand with local sports teams or events. Sponsor local games or organize watch parties. Support local causes or charities and highlight these efforts during the Super Bowl season.
  5. Email Marketing: Send out Super Bowl-themed emails to your subscribers. Offer special promotions, discounts, or exclusive content related to the game.
  6. Content Creation: Write blog posts or create videos discussing Super Bowl-related topics. Optimize your content for relevant keywords to attract organic traffic during the Super Bowl season.
  7. Limited-Time Offers: Create time-sensitive promotions tied to the Super Bowl. Use urgency to encourage immediate action from your audience.

Remember that while Super Bowl ads are grand, smaller-scale efforts can still capitalize on the excitement and engagement surrounding the event. By being creative, targeted, and timely, everyday brands can make a memorable impact without the hefty price tag.

Showtime Shuffle: Grooving Through Halftime

Finally, Let’s talk about the halftime show. Let’s all say “Usher, Usher, Usher” together followed by “Feeling like a Zombie come back to life” as we begin swaying to his song, Dj’s Got Us Fallin’ In Love. Usher has a very big brand of his own – Usher, as a brand, defies categorization. His multifaceted ventures span music, craftsmanship, and entrepreneurship. From chart-topping hits to handcrafted saddles and silver, Usher’s brand harmoniously blends artistry, versatility, and innovation.

Let’s take a closer look at this and how the halftime show, particularly Usher’s dynamic performance, offers valuable insights for businesses seeking to elevate their brand presence. Usher’s ability to transcend traditional boundaries serves as a compelling lesson – businesses should embrace a multifaceted approach to branding. To truly stand out, companies can draw inspiration from Usher’s versatility and innovation, breaking free from categorization. Whether it’s diversifying products or services, engaging in community initiatives, or exploring new markets, a comprehensive brand strategy enhances the overall customer experience. Like Usher, businesses can craft a unique narrative that seamlessly blends different elements, creating a dynamic and resonant brand identity. This halftime show example underscores the importance of businesses evolving and innovating in their branding efforts, showcasing a multifaceted and adaptable presence that captivates and connects with their audience.

Touchdowns and Field Goals

In conclusion, as we gear up for The Big Game, let’s not just focus on touchdowns and field goals but appreciate the intricate dance of branding and marketing that adds an extra layer of excitement to this grand spectacle. And, now for the big question … Who do you think will win this year’s Superbowl? And, how are you making your guess – are you choosing by their branding colors and mascot like me?

Want to know more about what your business brand says about you? Take our quiz “What’s Your Brand’s Shine Factor” and find out.

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hello there!

I'm Gina O'Daniel.

I'm a Brand Strategist, Coach, Designer, Author, and Speaker. I LOVE helping business owners, just like you, discover their brand uniqueness and attract their perfect customers.

I'm not new to this branding and marketing rodeo. In fact, I have been in the design industry for over 35 years and have worked on so many amazing projects along the way. 

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