NFL’s Super Bowl, the battle of the brands!

Why the Super Bowl remains the pinnacle of advertising

First, let’s get back to the basics. The Super Bowl is the most widely viewed event in the world each year, even higher than the Olympics Games. In 2018, some 114 million Americans, approximatively 1/3 of the country’s population, watched the Super Bowl on TV.  The location changes every year, but the event is always held on the first weekend of February and has been running for over 53 years. It is the grand finale of the United States’ National Football League (NFL). 
The Vince Lombardi Trophy was designed by Tiffany & Co, the well-known American jeweller who also designed the trophies for the US Open (tennis), the Triple Crown (polo) and NBA Championship (basketball). 

American Football is one of the most watched sports in North America and the NFL grew an international reach the last decade. Eleven player per team will try to win the big title after a season starting in September. Famous football player Tom Brady counts five Vince Lombardi Trophies to his name, achieved together with his team the New England Patriots. Can he and his teammates secure a record sixth win this year? We will not explore this question any further, although we will just consider one astonishing statistic: there is a 17-year-old difference between legendary veteran quarterback Tom Brady (41) and young rising Los Angeles Rams star Jared Goff (24), calling brands also to focus on the players themselves, but we talked already about this on our previous article. 

Source: Sproting News

One word sums up the big game: superlative

The NFL turns over USD 9 billion yearly, compared to the USD 150 billion that the whole sports industry represents. The scope of the event has had an astronomic influence on advertising. According to Kantar, the price of advertising during the Super Bowl has increased 76% in the last decade. The current price of a 30-second TV commercial is around USD 5 million, and this does not include the related production costs.

The Super Bowl holds so much clout that brands develop dedicated advertising commercials specifically for it, creating a one of a kind unofficial ranking.

According to a recent survey from American Marketing Association, about 25% of the viewers think the ads are as important as the game itself.

Another interesting number, according to DNA is that 78% of the viewers will interact on social media while watching the game and de facto the ad break bumpers.

The price of the tickets isn’t any cheaper, comparatively speaking, starting at USD 2700.- for a single seat, with many being much more.

The Super Bowl frenzy even sees a spike in private flights with Avinode, the largest marketplace for air charter, exploding during the week of the event, with the same jet demand as for the World Economic Forum in Davos, expecting no less than 1400 private flights.

Even mass media catches the Super Bowl craze. The USA Today reported that, in 2008, a reporter from Mexico's TV station Azteca wore a wedding dress and asked New England Patriot Tom Brady to marry her.

The Super Bowl has turned into a massive revenue generating machine along the lines of the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup.

Battle of the brands: smart moves by Pepsi and Lowe’s 

As some of you may know, Super Bowl LIII is taking place in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons. The stadium is a state-of-the-art facility with a retractable roof and a 360° wide screen. The total cost to build it was estimated at USD 1.6 billion. But that’s beside the point.

Let’s shift our focus to the city itself. Atlanta is the birthplace of some of the biggest brands in the world, one of them being Coca-Cola. As a matter of fact, the product Coca-Cola itself was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta. You may already see where this is headed… Since 2002, the NFL has been sponsored by PepsiCo, and a big chunk of the marketing activation deal is engaged during the Super Bowl weekend.

Source: AJC

Most of the capital city of the US state of Georgia will be painted blue with gigantic billboards, a true heartbreak for the rivaling red soda company. Here are some of the funniest punchlines so far (according to AJC):

"Pepsi in Atlanta. How refreshing."

"Hey Atlanta. Thanks for hosting. We'll bring the drinks."

"Look who's in town for Super Bowl LIII."

It gets worse for Coca-Cola: the NFL is allowed a perimeter in downtown Atlanta where only NFL main sponsors can be on display. The World of Coca-Cola, a famous museum showcasing the history of The Coca-Cola Company is inside that perimeter. Can you imagine the pain of having your Coca-Cola flagship museum with Pepsi-blue advertisement all around?

Another brand battle taking place during this Super Bowl is Home Depot versus Lowe’s. Also headquartered in Atlanta, Home Depot, the fifth-largest private employer in the United States with some 413,000 employees, suffered a marketing setback when, according to Business Insider, Lowe's reached a massive deal with the National Football League that makes it their official home-improvement retail sponsor. “The exclusive multi-year partnership will give Lowe's branding rights and marketing opportunities at key events, including the Super Bowl, the NFL draft, and the NFL Scouting Combine”.

The deal was sealed at the beginning of this year, with the clear aim of gearing up at the Super Bowl with a massive advertising campaign on Home Depot’s turf.

Can these smart marketing strategies shake the heart of these corporate giants? Not sure about that. However, locals from Atlanta are talking about it, and the world is following with an interested eye.

At the end of the day, the Super Bowl is the perfect example of the American entertainment/sport business. It starts with the sport, and almost always turns out to be an effective excuse to offer marketed advertising!

A The Consultancy Group article, written by Anthony Schaub & Alessandro Di Benedetto 

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