Lights, camera, football! The Super Bowl is an experience for sports fans and non-sports fans alike, as it offers a concert performance at every halftime and hilarious advertising in between the players’ punts.
With time, more and more marketers who leverage the Super Bowl’s outrageously high viewership have invested in experiential marketing, seeking to host a more interactive experience with consumers during the Super Bowl LIVE fan festival, which takes place over the course of 10 days before game day.
Top Experiential Campaigns From Super Bowl LII — 2018
Sleep Number: VR Passes Simulate Lack Of Sleep
Last year, Sleep Number became the official health and wellness partner of the NFL, offering every player a Sleep Number 360 smart bed to help them get the best rest, successfully preparing them for the big game.
For the Super Bowl LIVE festival, the brand prepared a virtual reality (VR) game for fans to participate in. Football themed, of course, the game prompted players to throw footballs within the stadium, aiming for floating Sleep Number logos. In the next round of the game, the VR goggles replicated what it’s like to perform the same task with sleep deprivation, making consumers realize just how important a proper night’s rest is — especially when you need to be operating at the top of your game.
Consumers also got a surprise pop-up concert from Brad Paisley at the Sleep Number store in the Mall of America. Before performing for fans there, Paisley tested his skills by playing Sleep Number’s VR game.
Courtyard By Marriott: The Ultimate Sleepover — In Person & Virtual
One lucky winner got the “ultimate” lifetime experience for Super Bowl LII. Marriott renovated a stadium suite on the ground level, turning it into a Courtyard by Marriott guest room accompanied with a patio and lounge chairs for a field-level view.
The #CourtyardSuperBowlContest encouraged fans to show their passion for football. Between September 1 and November 3, fans were able to enter the contest by posting photos on Twitter and Instagram. Winners @CoureyPMarshall and @ChelsMarshall83 reveled in the luxurious suite and met with players Von Miller of the Broncos and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys.
The winners of our #CourtyardSuperBowlContest had the time of their lives at Super Bowl Stadium in Minneapolis! (Including a few surprise guests). Check it out! #CourtyardNFL pic.twitter.com/Aesrr7ru6S— Courtyard Hotels (@CourtyardHotels) February 7, 2018
Plus, for all the consumers who didn’t win the field-level suite, Marriott created a 4D VR dome in the Mall of America, allowing fans to experience the sleepover suite in a specially designed room outfitted with cozy recliners.
Target: Bullseye Lodge For Comfort & Fun
Super Bowl LII’s theme was “bold north,” and Target took that to heart, creating their Bullseye Lodge to serve as an interactive playground of winter games. Set up in the 25,000-square-foot Target Plaza Commons, the Bullseye Lodge was filled with a curling rink, an ice bar and 3D-printed marshmallows.
Fans could purchase merchandise inside the lodge or sit by the fire with their cups of cocoa to warm up after playing a fun game of Target-branded hockey.
Experiential Marketing To Expect From Super Bowl LIII — 2019
Ford: Virtual Drive To Atlanta
Ford, a main partner of the NFL and long-standing sponsor of the Super Bowl, will launch a Ford VR Drive In at Super Bowl LIVE this year. Their exhibition, stocked with F150s, Rangers and Super Duty trucks, will encourage consumers to climb in their favorite trucks and virtually drive to Atlanta, the location of this year’s game.
Consumers will have a chance to win an NFLShop.com gift card if registered for the Ford experience. And there will be plenty of opportunities for photos with NFL players and the Official Trucks of the NFL: the Ford F-series.
Best Buy: Putting Tech In Consumers’ Hands
Best Buy is putting tech in game day in a whole new way. At their experience at the Super Bowl LIVE festival, Best Buy will provide almost 30 different devices to consumers to play with.
From Xboxes to Google Assistants, fans will have a chance to try out everything that could help them create the most premiere football-watching experience ever. Plus, Best Buy’s Geek Squad will be at the Best Buy Tech Zone to help fans fiddle with TVs, gaming consoles and sound systems. A “go for the win” sweepstakes is opening the fun of the Tech Zone to everyone, giving Best Buy a chance to leverage their sponsorship for the collection of valuable first-party consumer data.
Whether at the LIVE fan festival or in our online world, Super Bowl sponsors and advertisers are taking their marketing to the next level to leave lasting impressions. It seems safe to say experiential marketing is taking over Super Bowl LIII.