Running a 30 second ad during Super Bowl 50 will cost up to $5 million. If your brand is going to spend that kind of money, you’d better make it count. The truth is that ads alone don’t influence consumers the way they used to. It’s vital to get consumers directly involved with your brand as part of your Super Bowl ad campaign.

Using social media and second screen apps are some current best practices for enhancing the effectiveness of your ad campaign. But experiential marketing is another valuable tool for increasing the reach and impact of any advertising campaign. Experiential marketing (also called event marketing or live marketing) allows companies to transform what consumers see in ads into on-the-ground experiences where consumers can directly interact with brands.

Given that experiential marketing has been making big gains in marketers’ portfolios in recent years, we thought it would be interesting to look at Super Bowl 50 advertising through the eyes of experiential marketing. How can your brand use experiential marketing and the principles that make it so successful to boost the performance of that $5 million ad?

Brands can begin engaging with people long before the game actually starts. Before Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Pepsi went out of its way to welcome consumers arriving at the airport. The brand set up a promotion they called “Get Hyped for Halftime.” It involved a video booth where consumers could superimpose a photo on themselves on the field at University of Phoenix Stadium, then post the photo to their social media sites.

StubHub, which sells Super Bowl tickets and tickets to other major events, also worked hard to interact with fans before Super Bowl XLIX. Their StubHub Pre-Game Bash was open to randomly-selected ticket holders. Consumers could enjoy good food, play games, record a video of themselves doing a touchdown dance in front of a live audience, and much more.

Super Bowl 50 will be held at the new Levi’s Stadium just north of San Francisco. Dozens of brands are planning experiential marketing events targeted toward consumers attending the Super Bowl and consumers who live in the area.

Verizon is sponsoring a Super Bowl City that’s open to the public the week before the game. Inside the makeshift city, consumers can visit at Fan Energy Zone sponsored by SAP. It will showcase hot new technologies and social media platforms. Hyundai has organized an NFL Experience area where fans can play interactive games, meet football players and shop for Super Bowl 50 branded products.

By having direct interactions with consumers and providing them with one-of-a-kind experiences, these brands are building a solid relationship with current and future customers. You can bet consumers watching their ads on Super Bowl Sunday will be more receptive to them having just had such a positive experience with the brands.

Experiential marketing can also be used to great effect during the Super Bowl. For Super Bowl XLVIII, Bud Light rented a cruise ship on the Hudson River in New York and created a unique viewing experience for over 4,000 football fans. Consumers had plenty of places to watch the game (which was taking place at nearby MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ). If they wanted to skip the commercials or halftime show, they could take advantage of the cruise ship’s attractions, including a giant slide, or attend a concert with a big-name band like Foo Fighters or Fall Out Boy. Bud Light used the cruise ship as a hotel, so consumers were able to interact with the company in interesting ways all weekend long.

For people less interested in watching the game and more interested in the party aspect of the Super Bowl, Bud Light set up a House of Whatever during Super Bowl XLIX. Consumers applied to attend the House of Whatever party by posting a photo of themselves to various social media sites with the hashtag #UpforWhatever. Those lucky enough to attend were treated to nearly 50 different interactive events with the House of Whatever. A video camera captures all the goings-on to show people having fun with Bud Light. The House of Whatever event is a perfect example of how experiential marketing can be used as an extension of advertisements that are going on air.

Factory 360 was pleased to work with Moët Hennessy to leverage the magic of New York City to create a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl weekend experience. Hennessy’s leading salespeople were invited to an exclusive experience in New York that took place the same weekend as the Super Bowl. Attendees spent one day participating in the NFL Celebrity Bowling Classic, where they got to bowl alongside NFL players. Everyone received a commemorative bowling shirt, bowling ball and pin. The next day they attended the official NFL tailgating party before attending the big game. The event did an excellent job of rewarding top sales managers, as well as sticking to Hennessy’s brand image as a luxury products company.

If your brand is looking for ways to incorporate experiential marketing into your Super Bowl ad campaign – or any ad campaign, for that matter – let Factory 360 help you plan and implement your campaign. We have over a decade of experience helping brands increase engagement and sales by executing successful experiential marketing campaigns. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.

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