Commercials, Politics, and Experiential Marketing at Super Bowl LI

Posted by Samantha Stallard on February 6, 2017
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As an Atlanta native, I'm still emotionally recovering from the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history and would much rather steer the conversation toward how brands like Airbnb, Audi, and Budweiser performed last night than hear anyone utter the words "Tom Brady" in my presence. 

We've seen the advertising tides change in the last decade - especially the emphasis previously placed on the value of television. It seems the rules don't apply when it comes to Super Bowl ads, as brands spend upwards of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time. However, these commercials can't exist as a stand alone marketing tactic anymore - the most memorable and ROI-producing ads have digital and experiential components as well.

Experiential marketing allows companies to transform what consumers saw before those awful Patriots cheered with their trophy into direct interaction experiences. Here are some brands who capitalized on the partnership:


This is the epitome of an experience in advertising. Snickers much-anticipated live commercial, the first one of its kind, was filmed during the first commercial break of the third quarter. Featuring Adam Driver, the ad was hyped with TV spots featuring a cardboard cutout of Driver auditioning with a dead cowboy and a horse, but not much was given away.

While the spot was meant to be comical and off-the-wall, it opened with Driver missing his mark and stumbling to find his footing. Snickers, recognizing an opportunity, kept up with its hunger mishap messaging Monday, offering a fumbling filmed apology from Driver and a promotion tied to Sunday night's live commercial.  

 Video courtesy: SnickersBrand YouTube channel


Pepsi kicked off Super Bowl weekend with a party to unveil its new premium bottled water, LIFEWTR. Tickets for the event sold out in less than one minute online, no surprise considering DJ Khaled kicked off the night and Bruno Mars headlined.

Continuing the music integration into their commercial, John Legend recorded a special version of his hit “Love Me Now” as a rainstorm transforms an entire city into one giant work of art. The director, Robert Stromberg, who has won Oscars for his work on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, based the artistic ad on the water’s label, which showcases the work of up-and-coming artists.  

Video courtesy: LIFEWTR YouTube channel

84 Lumber

The Pennsylvania-based building material supplier earned off-air buzz after they were forced to change their plans for a commercial that Fox deemed "too controversial." The original, featuring a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter confronting a border wall between the United States and Mexico, comes amid a national immigration debate after President Trump issued an executive order banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries - and a federal judge issuing a restraining order on the ban.

84 Lumber aired an edited version during the live broadcast and uploaded the full, 6-minute commercial to their site - causing the website to crash. Viewers took to social media, commenting on the message and the politics behind it, as #84lumber trended on Twitter during halftime. 

 Video courtesy: 84 Lumber YouTube channel


Justin Bieber, Rob Gronkowski and Terrell Owens starred in T-Mobile's Super Bowl commercial giving a little history behind touchdown celebrations. The ad, titled #UnlimitedMoves, is more about it's social inclusion than a dance-off. Bieber tweeted his followers, letting them know that he wants to check out their moves, so starting today, post your touchdown celebration to social media with the hashtag #UnlimitedMoves, and Bieber will retweet his favorites. 

  Video courtesy: T-Mobile YouTube channel


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Topics: news, experiential marketing, super bowl

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