Super Bowl 50 may have taken place, officially, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, but for football fans and brands, San Francisco was ground zero for experiential before the big game. The city played host to a litany of fan experiences from the ticketed NFL Experience at Moscone Center to Super Bowl City, the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee’s official free fan village located at the end of Market Street on the Embarcadero. Connecting the two was the 50th Mile, a celebration of Super Bowls of the past with content and photos unlocked using the official Road to 50 app. Slip on your best organic cotton t-shirt and grab a refillable water bottle. The tour begins now. ...
With side-by-side twin brand pavilions set up as a Verizon Access Zone along the Embarcadero, the communication juggernaut effectively flexed its muscles with an experience that was as appealing to the eyes as it was for the thousands of consumers that waited as long as two hours to get into it all.
If you faced the Bay, to your right was the 1,200-square-foot Verizon charging structure tethered to biometrics—consumers’ own fingerprints let them open, lock and reopen the charging stations. But to the left was the real action, the 4,000-square-foot anchor structure offering up a handful of carefully choreographed engagements. Reminiscent of the brand’s flagship stores being rolled out in key markets, guests entered the clean space (white exhibits, wood floors, plenty of sunlight) and could engage brand ambassadors to learn about Verizon’s service offerings, points of difference and new solutions.
It all tied into the brand’s new “Better Matters” tag. Getting heavy on-site play was Go90, Verizon’s cloud-based entertainment portal (the company calls it “a video streaming app that offers access to live and on demand video wrapped in a social experience”). Consumers could check out the app, ask staffers questions and download it (if they were Verizon subscribers). A few steps from the Go90 display was a Switching Station manned with ambassadors ready to switch consumers to Verizon on the spot (we actually saw some people doing it) and places to sit and try a variety of mobile devices.
“With so many companies competing for consumers’ attention, it’s go big or go home,” says Kristin Rooney, Verizon’s director of marketing and sponsorships. “We decided to go big.”
There was also a #Minute50 wall—tied to the company’s “social first” promotion that served prizes every hour at the 50-minute mark from January 24 through February 7—showcasing the prizes, winners and a countdown clock. The #Minute50 campaign ran nationally and then locally in San Francisco with a variety of prizes, including Super Bowl 50 tickets, NFL merchandise, free data and TVs. A total of 336 rewards were given out. Prizes awarded in San Francisco (using a separate localized #SFMinute50 hashtag) included exclusive experiences with NFL players on site as well as access to NFL events. Local winners received a text to claim their prize at the Verizon Access Zone.
The pièce de résistance? The final engagement, the Game Winner experience—a domed 180-degree theater that placed fans “in the game” for a chance to throw a game-deciding pass. Consumers slipped into football jerseys, had their photos taken, then stepped into the theater where they listened for cues and threw a pass. The photo, audio and video were instantly meshed together—and full video of it all, worthy of an ESPN highlights reel, was texted to the consumer seconds later. One of the best interactives of the weekend. Agency: Momentum Worldwide, New York City. ...
Was it the free pizza that caused those lines? The digital dough throw? The cheerleaders? Yes. Yes. Oh, and yes. Activating its longstanding “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” campaign in the NFLX courtyard, the pizza chain’s footprint boasted five main connections. First, fans stepped into a Get in the Game photo activation in which they held a football up against a Super Bowl backdrop.
From there they could pose against a Levi’s Stadium backdrop for a faux pic with JJ Watt and Joe Montana. Next up, a video of them throwing (a plastic) pizza in the air. Then they stepped up to the mobile kitchen and were handed a perfectly piping hot slice of pizza—as objective journalists, we felt it was our duty to check the slice temp (twice). From there they entered another photo activation, this one allowing them to get a photo between standees of Peyton Manning and Papa John’s founder John Schnatter. Between the photos, the video, the pizza, the brand ambassadors, some random cheerleaders and an emcee encouraging folks to have fun and snap “pizza selfies” tagged to #upyourgame, the footprint was rockin’. Agency: Momentum Worldwide, Chicago.