By Charles Upchurch, FWV
Here at French/West/Vaughan, each new year comes with the added strategic focus and multi-layered tactical planning required to prepare us for the Super Bowl. For a growing number of our clients, the world’s premier single-day sporting event is really a season unto itself, starting months in advance and then rolling like a snowball downhill through January.
This year, Super Bowl week runs from Monday, Jan. 27 through Super Sunday, Feb. 2. We’ll have account teams on the ground in Miami supporting clients, celebrity ambassadors and marquee events to leverage the biggest and brightest media spotlight of the year once again. Increasingly, the Super Bowl and the ever-expanding range of opportunities for integration and awareness is an annual priority for the brands we represent.
It comes as no surprise that in our sports and celebrity-oriented consumer culture, the Super Bowl is still King. Last year approximately 180 million people in the U.S. alone watched the game either on TV (75 percent of all homes with a TV tuned in) or streaming platforms. Over $408 million was spent on in-game advertising, exceeding all the money invested across the five-game World Series by more than $100 million. Consumer purchasing in the U.S. related to the Super Bowl totaled nearly $15 billion.
FWV has been a fixture at the Super Bowl since 1998. We have worked with NFL players like Pro Bowlers Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Simeon Rice, Arian Foster, Michael Vick and others, including Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Torry Holt and longtime Hall of Fame inductee Morten Andersen. Radio Row, the mass assemblage of broadcast media from around the country and the epicenter of the sports media world for five days each year, is familiar territory for us.
We’ve represented the legendary Leigh Steinberg, helping the superagent tell his personal story and introducing his players to the national media, including the reigning NFL MVP and current Super Bowl contender, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Our relationships on Radio Row extend from the major media networks like ESPN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, Sirius XM Radio and the NFL Network, to sports radio stations in major and mid-major markets coast to coast.
The convergence of broadcast and internet media (some now refer to Radio Row as Media Row), has made it possible to reach more targeted audiences who find their sports, news and entertainment content online. Super Bowl viewership via streaming was up 20 percent last year, and statistics show that nearly half (49%) of all viewers ages 25 – 44 follow Super Bowl coverage on sports sites, news sites and other sites across the web. Radio and TV content is also found online, casting a wider net than ever before, making “Radio Row” an unmatched opportunity for concentrated, multi-channel coverage.
Beyond Radio Row, we’ve supported and produced celebrity events, parties and promotional activations for a diverse range of clients. For Steinberg, we led media relations efforts for his iconic party in New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Houston. In Tampa, we provided yachts from MarineMax to CNN, CBS, Fox and ESPN. We’ve produced celebrity poker games for Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, a fishing tournament with Justin Beiber, a film première for NFL star-turned-director Simeon Rice, hosted a magazine launch party and delivered the Super Bowl game ball by stagecoach for Wrangler.
Today, digital and social content is at the core of our integrated Super Bowl campaigns. In 2018, FWV worked with Yellow Tail wine to manage and promote a cross-country food truck tour hitting NFL markets en route to Minneapolis where Food Network star Jeff Mauro made the rounds on Radio Row. Last year we teamed up Morten Andersen and boxing legend Evander Holyfield with chefs from Certified Angus Beef, serving steaks on Radio Row over two days. For each of these campaigns it was the viral social media components working in tandem with traditional coverage that helped drive impressions, clicks, shares and likes well into the hundreds of millions, raising high-value awareness for the brands.
For Super Bowl 54 in Miami, we’ll be working again with Wrangler, leveraging social media and product placement opportunities connected to a sponsorship of Gronk’s Beach Party, a new event hosted by former Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski. We’ll also be introducing a new client on Radio Row. FWV secured former New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings, who found pop stardom after winning ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, to accompany celebrity chef Aliya LeeKong promoting the RealEats brand.
What we have witnessed first-hand in more than 20 years of Super Bowl related consumer activation and PR, is the expansion of the marketing tent and the growing number of brands looking for a way inside. There aren’t many that can afford $5.5 million for one thirty-second TV spot during the Super Bowl broadcast, but creative marketers are finding more and more ways to leverage the media spotlight during the days leading up to the game when anticipation is at peak levels. All hail the King.