Leading up to our panel event on February 21, “How’d We Do? Scoring Minnesota Marketers On the Big Game,” we asked a handful of influential marketers around town how they thought we did. Over the next few days we’ll present their answers here. Today, the spotlight is on Greg Swan.
Director of Social, Fallon
In your expert opinion, which Minnesota brand did the best job with their Super Bowl digital activation/campaign? Tell us why you chose them and what other marketers can learn from them?
The Minnesota business community was extremely well represented at Super Bowl LII, from host committee partners to official sponsors to local businesses putting in the extra effort to make a splash for visitors and international media.
The American Birkebeiner International Bridge, sponsored by North America’s largest cross-country ski race of the same name, was the hands-down best local activation of the event, serving as the focal point for the Super Bowl Live experience. It transformed Nicollet Mall into a winter playground, with visitors skiing, tubing and skijoring down the 200 foot, snow-covered bridge. It was a must-photograph, must-tweet experience for visitors, added talk value to the free events downtown, and was the most memorable brand activation of the 2018 Super Bowl festivities.
Did you notice any missed opportunities or "head-scratchers" among MN brand activations?
I won’t mention the brands by name, but there were a few exhibitors that seemed to bring their stock trade show footprint experience to the Super Bowl experience. A sandbag toss game or bracelet giveaway may work fine at your Convention Center of Cleveland tradeshow, but this is the Super Bowl and you have literally thousands of people skipping your booth because it’s boring and forgettable.
Schwan's Co. did the exact opposite -- erecting a 40-foot-high tower of Schwan's delivery trucks with interactive tailgate trivia for passersby. It was a spectacle that made you stop and pay attention, and that’s what the Super Bowl is all about.
Seeing one more Super Bowl come and go, do you feel the Super Bowl is still a wise marketing investment for brands? When is it the right strategy?
Like any brand activation, sponsors of big events have to weigh business objectives, audience mix, impact and scale into their plans. The brands who signed onto the host committee, exhibited at Super Bowl Live, the NFL Experience and during the game itself all helped bring once-in-a-lifetime memories to thousands of residents and visitors to our town. Despite viewership decreasing slightly, the Super Bowl remains one of the few tentpole moments we have in American culture where we gather together for a shared experience. Even those consumers who didn’t watch the Super Bowl knew it was happening and felt compelled to justify why they were opting-out. In a noisy, algorithm-filled world, brands looking to capture attention or shift sentiment among a broad audience base, the Super Bowl can be an extremely efficient choice to break through.