Brand Building at the Bowl: Taking Advantage of All Channels

Super Bowl LVIII felt like true, full-funnel, big brand campaign put into practice. Traditionally serving as the kickoff for numerous Masterbrand campaigns throughout the year (or occasionally as a high-budget, fleeting spectacle), this event showcased the burgeoning potential of a holistic 360° approach. For me nowadays that means a spot that is rooted in the consumer reason to believe in the brand, socials that echo and evolve the spot and commerce experiences designed to do the same – alongside Print, OOH and PR to further amplify brand presence. I was impressed that this year, some of my favorites had been seeding content in the weeks and days prior to the Brand Bowl and immediately pushed excellence in commerce to boot.

CeraVe has been pushing out content with Michael Cera holding and distributing product in a “is he or isn’t he” fashion for a few weeks. This blend of PR and guerrilla marketing, has proven timeless in its effectiveness with tongue firmly in cheek. The payoff during the game answered the stunts and chatter of the past few weeks, and delivered the brand’s “why us” handily with moments in the spot highlighting the moisturizing properties and three essential ceramides that the brand was named for. When I visited the brand store on Amazon, searched on Google or visited the, all three sites drove the messaging further and made sure to complete the campaign circle. The only watch out is the constant threat of conquesting from competitors. Both during the game and certainly in days post-airing, it will be critical to map out optimization strategies to make sure that a brand’s hard work driving awareness and consideration doesn’t drive growth for someone else!

Dunkin’ has a slightly different task in that they are driving to in-store and app purchases first and foremost and don’t have quite the same task in driving reasons to believe as some manufacturers do. Nonetheless, through weeks of content buildup (including a teaser spot during the Grammys), Dunkin' was well-prepared to unleash Ben and his fellow Dunkings. As a quintessential part of Boston culture, investing in enhancing brand awareness and fostering love for the brand is undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor. Their strategy of enticing app visits with special Dunkings menu items (such as the amusing 3 munchkins on a swizzle) alongside a well-crafted social media approach to promote their (already sold-out) merch made a significant impact for an advertiser competing amongst many. Additionally, leveraging celebrity star power further bolstered their campaign. While I personally missed the chance to swing by my local Dunkin' this morning before work, I anticipate seeing Dunkings aplenty. My only suggestion would be to explore ways to integrate their merch stores more seamlessly with their social media platforms – perhaps through a TikTok Shop integration.

Last but certainly not least, we witnessed the long-awaited debut of Nerds with their first-ever Super Bowl commercial, marking a significant milestone after 40 years on the shelves – with the help of Digitas Chicago. Nerds has been innovating in the candy aisle for years and has had explosive growth – what better platform to showcase their innovation than the Super Bowl? The ad was of course a great combo of cute, clever and nostalgia but more importantly an excellent example of full realized campaign planning. The groundwork began in November with in-store preparations, followed by tantalizing teaser ads in the weeks leading up to the game, culminating in a full-blown campaign blitz across TikTok and various social media platforms. Addison Rae helped connect intergenerational nostalgia to new audiences as she bridges Nerds' adoration with Gen X and Millennials to new Gen Z audiences. More importantly, when I searched Amazon immediately after airing, the PDPs and brand page were completely integrated and ready for interested consumers to buy. In fact, during the show, local delivery services for GoPuff were promoting the candy, with some local markets completely selling out of stock.

I am excited to see how 2024 Brand Building continues to evolve in the commerce space. Huge spends aren’t the only way to execute and are not for every brand. However, as we see more and more opportunities to link what was once Masterbrand only activity more directly with the sales part of the funnel, it gets more exciting.