Marketing Briefing: With fewer live events and opportunities, the Super Bowl may be even more important for marketers this year


This Marketing Briefing covers the latest in marketing for Digiday+ members and is distributed over email every Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. More from the series →

While the Super Bowl is always important — advertisers wouldn’t pay $6.5 million (that’s the going rate this year) for a spot if it weren’t — there are usually other live events like the Grammy’s or the Golden Globes where marketers can reach audiences, even if the size of those audience has been dwindling in recent years.

But with the Grammy’s recently postponed and the Golden Globes off the air this year (which one ad exec noted “had been a huge ad and integrations event completely wiped off the calendar”), the opportunity to reach live audiences this time of year have dwindled. 

With that being the case, “moments like the Super Bowl [are] even bigger marketing tent poles than usual,” said Nancy Hill, founder of Media Sherpas and former 4A’s president, adding that she doesn’t believe the NFL will make changes to the Super Bowl schedule. “They’ve already proven their willingness to ensure that the ‘game must go on.’” 

This year’s Big Game will air on NBC on February 13.

As for live events needing to shift due to the omicron variant, like the awards shows that typically offer another outlet for advertisers to reach live audiences, it’s another example of marketers needing flexibility to manage the around on-going pandemic, according to agency execs and industry observers. 

“We have been doing multi-scenario planning for our clients going into 2022,” said Carrie Dino, head of media for Mekanism. “This means we are looking at 2-3 plan options that we can execute on depending on the current economic and public situation when our media is set to launch.” 

Hill echoed that sentiment: “With everything still in flux, ‘planning’ is almost becoming an oxymoron. Scenario planning is the norm now. ‘If not A, then B. If not, B then C.’  Brands and agencies have to remain flexible, vigilant and willing to move fast.” 

Aside from making the Super Bowl more important for marketers and needing to plan for multiple scenarios, agency execs say that the shifting nature of live events “adds up to much more last minute planning,” noted the first ad exec. 

Of course, that’s not the case for all marketers and agency execs. Dino noted that “for any in-person events or cultural moments that are reliant on in-person gatherings, we are proactively negotiating alternative media executions in the event that a broadcast or event is moved to a later date or moved to an online alternative.” 

“It is certainly more work upfront, but in the end it has really helped to avoid the scramble of last minute media cancellations,” Dino added.

3 Questions With Firestone Walker Brewing Company CMO Dustin Hinz

What’s Firestone Walker’s current marketing strategy and how has it changed over the last year?

One of the things that we’ve really focused on over the last couple of years is a very strong awareness. We have to use media that’s really agile and incredibly measurable. Because, like everybody in today’s age, I’ve got to show the efficacy of our spend. So right now, the goal is to create top of the funnel demand. So a large portion, about 40% of our media and marketing budget spend on demand generation, [is] at the top of the funnel. So that would be digital channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Also up at the top, some Trade Desk. We’re trying a lot of different things and measuring all that media to see what’s connecting, and then we connect all of those messages all the way down the funnel from a 360-approach.

Has the strategy changed, or how will it change, as we come out of the pandemic and people return to in-person activities?

One of the things that the pandemic allowed us to do is introspectively look at our strategy as a company and shed some of the legacy approaches that we had. We thought things were working, spending money in certain ways because that’s perhaps the approach the industry took for a period of time. During the pandemic, we were allowed to go real heavy on digital. We cut down on some of our other efforts. 

We went really chain driven, which then allowed us to focus on the on-premise bars and restaurants shutting down. When you lose 30% of your business overnight, you’ve got to get up the next day and figure out how you’re going to get that business back. That allowed us to focus on our chain partners and now we can really have a stronger partnership with them. What it allowed us to do was take everything back down to the foundation—take a breath, step back, look at it, build it back up and do it in a way that is really lean. Today, our marketing mix is the best it’s ever been because we’ve trimmed the fat from every category.

Your company has its own beer club. What does that mean for you team’s community building efforts?

The beer club is really just a way for us to speak directly to our most loyal customers and give them something special and unique that keeps that connection between us and them incredibly strong. — Kimeko McCoy

By the Numbers

Since the onset of data privacy laws, Google’s crumbling third-party cookie and Apple’s iOS14 changes, advertisers have been scrambling to find alternative ways to gather first-party data. However, new research from data discovery company Ground Labs reveals that amidst the growing demand for data privacy and security, many American shoppers are unaware of data protection laws. Find key findings from the study below:

  • 71% of respondents either never or only occasionally read data sharing disclaimers to find out why their personal data is being collected and what it will be used for.
  • 71% of respondents are unaware of consumer data protection laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • 23% have had their personal information or data compromised in a data breach and proceeded to use/work with the company as usual. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the Week

“Performance marketing is getting squeezed on all sides. Competition is higher than ever and marketers can’t just rely on low hanging fruit.”

— Laundry Service’s chief marketing officer Mike Mikho on why brands that had relied on performance marketing are diversifying now.

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