min read

Why Super Bowl Marketing Success Demands a 360-Degree Story-Driven Approach

The Evolving Brand Storytelling Playbook

Super Bowl ads evolve: Beyond TV spots, brands thrive with immersive experiences. From giant Doritos chips to Nickelodeon slime hotels, success demands a 360-Degree Story-Driven Approach.

The Super Bowl remains one of advertising's biggest stages, but the old playbook of buying a 30-second slot and calling it a day no longer guarantees impact. We know that linear TV has been in steep decline.  Despite that, the Big Game offers a rare opportunity for brands to reach a wide audience with their story… but, without a 360 strategy, it’s only for 30 to 60 seconds.

This year, we saw savvy marketers embrace a more holistic brand storytelling approach that extends well beyond the broadcast itself.

Nickelodeon made a splash without traditional ads by transforming a hotel into a larger-than-life homage to their beloved slime. And CeraVe built anticipation with a pre-game social campaign (with 450 influencers! generating buzz and conversation for their campaign “Did Michael Cera create CeraVe?” for three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Their strategy amplified their in-game spot.

These brands recognized that crafting a captivating brand story today requires showing up in a more 360-degree manner. It's no longer just about what you air during the game - it's about creatively inserting your brand story into the experience in ways that spark conversation.

We saw other great examples of this. Opendoor ran a real-time ad spotlighting their seamless home buying/selling experience, and sold a home for cash during the game. Google centered inclusivity by hiring a blind film director, Adam Morse, to create their ad with a story that struck an emotional chord with a touching narrative illuminating their products' role in preserving memories. (“Guided Frame on Pixel 8 uses Google AI to make it easier for people with blindness or low vision to capture photos and share daily life.”)  Mattel dropped a Super Bowl-themed Barbie and hotels like Courtyard offered over-the-top giveaways.  And Doritos converted the Luxor hotel into a monument to their brand.

The takeaway? Brands must move beyond one-off ads and take an increasingly experiential, always-on, holistic storytelling approach. Think beyond the 30-second spot. Shape a compelling brand narrative across every touchpoint - both in the game itself and the cultural conversation surrounding it.

When marketers expand their playbook and immerse audiences in a 360-degree brand story, they set their campaigns up for success in today's crowded marketplace. Linear ads alone are no longer enough to truly captivate and engage modern consumers. One-dimensional ads alone no longer captivate modern audiences. But brands creatively integrating themselves into the fabric of the event itself? Those are poised to win big well beyond the final whistle.

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