Breaking Through in a Cluttered Super Bowl Landscape

By Leslie Lee, SVP of Marketing, Vistar Media

The biggest sports event of the year – the NFL’s Super Bowl – isn’t just for die-hard football fans. It’s also a coveted, celebrated event for the advertising and creative community around the world. While the game itself gets the majority of attention, the ads in between plays are what a lot of people look forward to year after year.

Everyone knows these Super Bowl ads come at a hefty price tag, and only a select number of brands can snag one of those sought-after spots, let alone afford it. However, another opportunity for marketers to capture attention and buzz around the Super Bowl lies out there, in the streets of the city that’s hosting the Big Game and in surrounding communities across the country.

What Happens in Vegas

The truth is, consumers who attend the Big Game are inundated with opportunities for fun just outside the stadium doors, not to mention the countless events and fan-related activities hosted by local bars, restaurants and hotels. For brands trying to capitalize on marketing activations while in Las Vegas, the key to success is connectivity between the brand and the target consumer.

In December 2023, Insider Intelligence published a statistic stating that 31.5% of U.S. shoppers who discovered an item in-store, purchased it right away. When we apply this to the Super Bowl, it means that a third of consumers will act on something they just saw. This is good news for marketers who want to stand out in a crowded setting.

Because of the sensory overload that comes with Vegas, brand marketers must commit to creativity and ingenuity to bring consumers into their world. An outdoor bar with cornhole boards and a few team flags is not enough. Advertisers have to build campaigns infused not only with sports, but with culturally relevant elements that can draw someone in right off of the street.

Utilizing the vast digital out-of-home (DOOH) screens in Las Vegas presents another opportunity to extend the reach of engagements and installations happening around the Super Bowl. Even the coolest, most innovative pop-up bars, situated just outside the stadium, limit exposure to those who can see it. When using DOOH screens in the area, you enable fans to “see” the pop-up experience before they actually lay eyes on it, increasing curiosity and hopefully drawing in more people. One of out-of-home’s greatest advantages? It’s out there, in the world and in the moment, surrounding the hustle and bustle of the Big Game – making it pretty hard to miss.

For example, an alcohol brand with an activation at a local bar can apply dynamic creative ‘nearest location’ technology to their DOOH campaigns to drive consumers directly to a point of interest. Remember, over 30% of consumers are willing to purchase something they just discovered, so brands should capitalize on that mindset to drive sales and engagement in a crowded, hyper-stimulating environment like Las Vegas.

The National Reach of the Super Bowl

Thankfully for marketers, the impact of the Super Bowl is not limited to the host city. Because of countless neighborhood parties, and events at restaurants and bars, marketers can (and should) extend their Super Bowl marketing nationally.

There are two primary groups of consumers for marketers to target. The first are those buying supplies for at-home watch parties, and the second are those attending events at bars and restaurants.

One of the most effective ways to reach U.S. consumers is through the growing number of retail media networks. Similar to airlines using their loyalty programs to target consumers decades ago, brands are able to tap into similar first-party data to place highly targeted and relevant ads to consumers leading up to their purchase.

Advertisers can build Super Bowl themed campaigns within close proximity to countless grocery stores or alcohol distributors. Marketers can leverage billboards to tell a story to consumers as they drive to shop for their Super Bowl party. Brands can also use retail media networks to launch in-store advertising. Remember the 30% statistic?

DOOH can even help brands link their product to the Super Bowl by using dynamic creative ‘countdown’ technology. A simple message displaying a countdown on a billboard that states exactly how many days and hours until kickoff, can go a long way in reminding consumers to shop early and buy your brand.

Campaigns Should Reiterate the Above

Using a healthy omnichannel advertising strategy during the course of the Super Bowl hedges an advertiser’s bet on their campaign. Having a geographic plan in addition to a channel strategy maximizes a brand’s ability to engage with those attending the Big Game, while also inspiring and delighting those watching from the comfort of their home.