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Scoring Big: Crafting Your Super Bowl Ad Strategy

Winning plays for leveraging the big game’s reach

And that’s a wrap! Super Bowl LVIII is down in the history books, concluding a big night not only for football but also for commercials and brands.

Arguably the biggest stage in the world of marketing, the Super Bowl draws millions who see the $7 million 30-second commercials. Not everyone can afford that hefty price tag, but the good news is that you don’t have to shell out a big budget to capitalize on the game’s cultural moment. Below we break down how we leveraged innovative strategies to reach our target audiences for two campaigns.

Tackling Human Trafficking with the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign

The Super Bowl is one of the largest human trafficking events in the United States each year. This year, the event was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, a state that some sources cite as having one of the highest rates of human trafficking per capita, at 5.77 cases per 100,000 residents. ​While prostitution is legal in Nevada, forced or coerced commercial sex work is not — it’s trafficking.

Because of the magnitude of the problem, it was critical to share Blue Campaign messaging and information in and around the event by highlighting the fact that human trafficking is more than forced sex work. It also includes forced labor in some of Nevada’s biggest industries: hotels, hospitality, and transportation among other forms of human trafficking.

Leading up to the gridiron showdown, we launched both digital and out-of-home ads geared primarily toward people who work in those key industries and, therefore, might be able to spot trafficking.

To complete this strategy, we also launched digital ads on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube and display placements targeting football fans both in Las Vegas and the home cities/states of the NFL playoff teams. Combined, these ads drove over 39 million impressions and 577,100 visits to the custom Blue Campaign Super Bowl landing page, which accounted for 76% of all site visits to the Blue Campaign pages during the ad flight dates.

Digital ads drove over 39 million impressions and 577,100 visits to the custom Blue Campaign Super Bowl landing page.

Our out-of-home placements focused on hospitality, hotel, and transportation industries and spanned a variety of placements:

A thousand hotel door hangers were displayed at multiple hotels on the Vegas Strip to reach hotel workers and guests.

Rideshare back window screens and an SMS text pushed rideshare drivers to reinforce the video ads featured in their back windows.

Digital and print billboards and ads on transit shelters complemented by enhanced mobile re-targeting (EMR) digital ads reached commuters in strategic locations across Las Vegas.

Driving Attention to the Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Campaign

In looking for new opportunities to increase the Veterans Crisis Line campaign reach and exposure, we focused on digital and out-of-home (DOOH) advertising at high-impact sporting events, including the Super Bowl. Events were chosen based on high Veteran interest and attendance, with DOOH ads providing the most cost-efficient options within target geographic areas.

We contracted with digital mobile billboard trucks, which ran display ads on their sides and backs, driving along a custom 8-hour route within a 5-mile radius around the event venue for two days leading up to and during the event, as well as for two days following the event (five days total).

Digital mobile billboard trucks drove display ads for five days around the Super Bowl venue.

Leave a Lasting Impression

When done right, the Super Bowl offers an unparalleled opportunity to captivate audiences and spark conversations. Both campaigns reached millions of people, and most importantly, they reached our target audiences for a fraction of what a Super Bowl commercial would cost.

Interested in exploring creative ways to elevate your campaign? Reach out — we’d love to connect!​

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