Super Bowl LII Winners, from an Event Planner’s Perspective

The Philadelphia Eagles technically won Super Bowl LII. But from an event planner’s perspective, this was far from the only win. Parties, charitable panels, VIP lounges, commercials and more were all critical components of the event. So, from a planner’s perspective, who were the big winners of the Super Bowl and what did they teach us?

Pre- or Post-Party: AT&T’s DirecTV Now Super Saturday Night

The night before the game, AT&T linked up with DirectTV to give attendees a JLo-inspired experience of a lifetime. The party provided an immersive virtual trip through Puerto Rico’s rain forest, an opportunity to participate in Jennifer Lopez’s “Armor, Armor, Armor” music video and a live concert featuring the latest laser effects.

Planner takeaway: Immersive, technological experiences are thriving. These are most engaging when in-keeping with the brand and event theme. As with this example, an event benefits from components working together to make an overall experience, instead of using unrelated micro-experiences.

VIP Program: Endeavor’s Super Bowl Lounge

Global marketing group Endeavor followed up its Sundance and Wimbledon spaces with another huge hit. For the Super Bowl, the brand created a lounge stocked with arcade games, a sm’ores bar and indulgent bites such as mini-donuts and mac and cheese bites. They also treated guests, clients and partners to spa and salon treatments. The dream-like lounge was open Feb. 1– 3.

Planner takeaway: When creating a VIP package, amenities that appeal on a multisensory level are memorable.  Stunning decor and delicious refreshments are expected from a VIP service. By also incorporating arcade games and a variety of services, Endeavor created a more comprehensive event.

Commercial: It’s a Tie: Tide and Amazon Alexa

Blogs can debate all day about which ads were best, but Tide and Amazon Alexa’s commercials definitely made the cut. In Tide’s memorable mini-production, Stranger Things star David Harbour turned the regular ad format on its head. In the clip, he appears to be in commercials for cars, beer, jewelry, fitness programs and other products. At the end he reveals that this is a Tide ad, remarking, “Does this make every Super Bowl ad a Tide ad?”

Another fine piece of advertising came from Amazon’s Alexa. The clip poses the question, “What if the personal assistant’s voice was replaced by Anthony Hopkins, Rebel Wilson or Cardi B?” As these scenarios play out, each celebrity displays their distinct personality.

Planner takeaway: Know, and properly use, your influencers. In these instances, celebrities do more than simply make an appearance or promote product purchases: They play with ideas. In doing so, their personalities emerge, diverting from the fact that they each have been hired as a spokesperson.

Charitable Endeavor: Microsoft’s Create Change Panel

NFL players Larry Fitzgerald, Von Miller, Greg Olsen and Russell Wilson participated in Microsoft’s Create Change Panel on Feb. 1, at the company’s store at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The athletes held a discussion about their charitable efforts and detailed how Microsoft Surface Technology supports their philanthropic work. At the end of the panel, $25,000 was donated to First Down Fund.

Planner takeaway: Taking some time to inform attendees of the recipient and progress of a charitable cause will help encourage participation. Even if donations aren’t made instantly, it’s worth communicating them and planting the seed.

Technology: Pepsi’s Generations Pop-Up

The Pepsi Go Back/Pepsi Generations concept was probably better virtually than as a commercial. At its pop-up exhibit Feb. 2–3, the brand offered the full experience of traveling back in time, with the storyline also used in the commercial. The VR experience transported users to two past Pepsi commercials that were played during Super Bowls. The service was also provided to at-home views using Google Cardboard or Daydream View goggles, as well.

Planner takeaway: Nostalgia and tech can be an extremely appealing convergence, appealing to multiple sentiments. Part of branding is being anchored in a persona, much of which is often established throughout time.