Going Digital: Brands Riding “Big Game” Hype Without a TV Spot

Volvo campaignEveryone in America knows that the “Big Game” is coming up this Sunday. And if you are one of the lucky few brands that have the budget to shell out $4.5 million for a thirty-second TV ad, then the weekend holds great value. But what about the little guys who can’t even fathom having that kind of media spend in the budget? Well, clever brands have managed to figure out ways to ride the coattails of the ad hype surrounding the Big Game. Let’s take a more creative look at how smaller brands are leveraging digital media to make their mark this weekend.

Let’s begin by exploring digital media. Digital media is more affordable and accessible for smaller brands to gain brand awareness. Long-gone are the days of expensive TV ads and outdoor advertising to gain brand awareness and equity. Today, through creative and resourceful uses of social media platforms and other digital conversation networks, brands can gain the attention of the masses for relatively little ad spend.

Newcastle Gets Snarky
Newcastle was among the first brands to leverage the hype of the Big Game without actually making a TV ad to run during the game. Last year, the beer brand’s campaign entitled, “If We Made It,” explained that it would create an ad for TV if they had the money to buy the spot. The campaign featured teaser clips, storyboards, and quirky parodies of past Super Bowl ads. The tone of the ads was satirical, poking fun at the over-the-top expense required for an ad spot during the Big Game.

Volvo Hops Onboard
This year, automaker Volvo is using their lack of a Super Bowl ad to their advantage. The digital campaign, aptly titled, “The Greatest Interception Ever,” will attempt to encourage viewers to tweet using the hashtag #VolvoContest to nominate someone to win a new Volvo XC60 during the brand’s competitors’ commercials. The difficulty with Volvo’s campaign is that it requires a lot of pre-event preparation and awareness building. How else will people know to use the hashtag during the game if they are not informed to do so ahead of time? Then, Volvo is relying on the user to remember, in the heat of the game, to tweet a random hashtag.

Another advertisers that plans to steal the attention of the many football fans outside of the “light box” is EA Sports with its Madden Bowl videogame tournament, which will be live streamed on Twitch. Big brand corporate sponsors for the event include GMC, McDonald’s, Ford, Kellogg’s, and Paramount.

The key to effective digital marketing surrounding a particular event is responsiveness, applicability, and entertainment. There must be a smart balance of appropriate timing and application. No one is going to find random #SB49 or #SuperBowl hashtags attractive when they are thrown in with standard advertising. But if you manage to find a clever and appropriate way to integrate your brand with the big event, then your brand has potential to gain significant traction in a few short steps.

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