For Super Bowl 50, brands focus on fans

A stage as big as the Super Bowl means big time exposure for brands. As consumers strive for engagement with brands, marketers plan more than just ads. Here are strategies to note.

Ads for the 2016 Super Bowl are popping up online and, with them, a peek at some brands’ marketing strategies.

Marketers and advertisers know that many fans look forward to the commercials as much as they do the on-field action.

Managers of big-time brands are putting monster efforts into making Super Bowl marketing campaigns engaging and, in some cases, are handing the brand over to fans.

In addition to banking on star power, humor and emotional storytelling, brand managers seek bold ways to inspire customers to take risks—risks that convey high-profile devotion to their products or services.

Here is what marketers for some top consumer brands are cooking up:

PepsiCo’s Doritos: Power to the people

Once again, Doritos has given its fans a chance to display their affection for the brand—literally.

As part of its “Crash the Super Bowl” ad campaign, fans were asked to create their own low-budget commercials. Although only one out of the three finalists will win the coveted $1 million prize and a chance to work with director Zack Snyder on an upcoming movie, all these homegrown brand ambassadors will be rewarded for their creativity.

In a press release, PepsiCo says all the finalists deliver strong storytelling techniques, something that’s vital to the brand’s messaging.

Acting as a Doritos brand ambassador, Snyder says boldness will be essential for victory in the competition:

“I know firsthand that in the entertainment business, you get a few shots to take a risk and put your talent up against everybody else to see if you have what it takes to make it big. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world and having your talent showcased in front of that audience can open a new world of opportunities.”

This will be the third—and final—time that Doritos has solicited “consumer-created advertising content” in conjunction with the Super Bowl campaign.

Handing the creative reins over to consumers—although temporarily—boosts Doritos’ image as a brand that engages directly with its customers.

Oscar Mayer: Unexpected product placement

Kraft Heinz’s Oscar Mayer will use the brand’s iconic Wienermobile to gain traction with NFL fans during the Super Bowl.

Oscar Mayer won’t be bringing the frankfurter-shaped vehicle into the homes of consumers via television. Instead, it will market its product in a more unexpected fashion—offering fans unprecedented access to the Wienermobile on game day.

The gist of the strategy, according to Collette Lee, brand manager for cold cuts and brand equity at Oscar Mayer, is this:

The Oscar Mayer team is always looking for ways to bring unexpected smiles to our fans. As we began noticing hotels in San Francisco are increasingly hard to come by as football’s biggest game approaches, we figured what better way to make people smile than letting one group of fans stay in our giant hot dog on wheels for the weekend?

The RV/hot dog has taken the name “Wienie-Bago,” and a chance for four to spend the weekend in it will be auctioned off to the highest eBay bidder. All proceeds will benefit Stop Hunger Now, a nonprofit organization working to end international hunger.

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Lee says the strategy’s intention was to offer consumers a tangible experience; an opportunity to engage directly with the brand.

“The Oscar Mayer team is always looking for new and unique ways to engage with our fans that go beyond traditional advertising,” she told PR Daily. “We love to get our fans involved with the brand. With all the love people have for the Wienermobile, it only made sense for us to offer this once-in-a-lifetime lodging experience.”

Nestle’s Butterfinger: We’re OK with breaking the rules

The NFL punishes players who celebrate excessively in the end zone after a touchdown.

It’s cracking down on spiking the football, kneeling to pray or “dabbing”—made popular by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Players who commit these football transgressions are rule breakers—exactly the kind of boldly expressive individuals Butterfinger’s Super Bowl campaign seeks to support.

“We don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘excessively’ celebrating in the end zone,” Butterfinger brand manager Kristen Mandel told a Mashable reporter. “They can show their true colors, show their true selves, their inner boldness in that celebration after the touchdown, and in the past years, that’s been downplayed a little.”

Butterfinger’s “Bolder than Bold” campaign is offering to cover up to $50,000 of NFL players’ excessive celebration fines, a move that emphasizes the brand’s willingness to encourage risk-taking in the name of self-expression and creativity.

“Sometimes when you act boldly, someone objects,” Mandel said to Mashable. “But we hope not—we hope they’ll see the positivity in it and enjoy it as well.”

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Topics: PR

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