Super Bowl: The Pregame

Logo. Overload. Let’s mix a city already considered an advertising mecca with an influx of millions of football fans. New York City, specifically Times Square is guaranteed to be filled with two things at all times: billboards and people. Super Bowl XLVIII meant one thing: MORE billboards and MORE people.

Although at first it seemed like the Super Bowl wasn’t as front and center in NYC as it typically is in other cities, as soon as my family and I deplaned, we were hit hard with Super Bowl-specific advertising. The most noticeable ad was from the NYC/NJ host committee, boasting that it was “An event so big, two cities needed to host it.” The host committee also branded NYC/NJ mugs and texting gloves with their logo on the left hand. Those who received their welcome bags quickly became walking advertisements.

Next stop was Super Bowl Boulevard, engineered by GMC. It stretched down Broadway, from 34th Street to 47th Street and every inch was littered with logos. XBOX, Papa John’s, GMC, Microsoft, etc. did their best to showcase products and engage fans with interactive displays and video. Many of the brands have are headquartered and have retail locations in the city, making them familiar and accessible for fans.

The streets were filled with volunteers ready to give visitors information regarding directions, attractions, or restaurants. Their puffy, yellow winter jackets and bright yellow New Era caps, sponsored by Visa, were eye-catching, making it hard to not see them (and the Visa logo).

Retail locations such as H&M and Macy’s pulled out the big guns for this event.  David Beckham was plastered on all possible facets including video billboards, busses, and the windows of most H&M stores. There was also a meet  and greet with him at the location near Super Bowl Boulevard the Saturday before.   Queue hundreds of screaming girls ages 20-60.

Macy’s, an already a well-known brand, especially in NYC, capitalized on the event. All windows were covered in Super Bowl welcome signs, the entire ground floor was filled with mannequins in jersey replicas, flags were hung that lead shoppers into the NFL Shop on the entire 4th floor of the store. While my family and I have been to a lot of Super Bowls, we had never seen a retail store embrace the NFL Shop in such a way.

Social Media also played a huge role in the days leading up the big game. Verizon Wireless had multiple billboards with the hashtag “whosgonnawin,” encouraging fans to tweet their prediction.  The team with the most votes decided what color lights would shine on Empire State Building the night of the game.

These few details only scratch the surface of how companies used the Super Bowl to get their name and brand noticed. Each took advantage of the millions of eyes on them and I have no doubt that engagement soared during the game and the week leading up to it.

Now, let’s see if Peyton Manning will be allowed in any more Papa John’s commercials after that game.