Marketing Briefing: Marketers amp up their Las Vegas efforts, including the Sphere, for the Super Bowl

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 →

Marketers are planning to use Super Bowl LVIII’s Las Vegas setting to the fullest. Marketers are going beyond the usual on-the-ground fare and employing what the city has to offer by rolling out teasers on the Sphere, more experiential events and using the city’s landmarks and impersonator talent to extend their Big Game advertising efforts.

Hellmann’s, for example, became the first Unilever brand to advertise on the Sphere last week with its activation featuring the star of its Big Game ad, Mayo Cat. The brand did so to “get more hype and talk value” around the brand’s Super Bowl effort, explained Audrey Melofchik, global chief brand experience officer, VML, adding the appeal of the Sphere, extending the advertising effort to the city makes sense given the tourism around Vegas.

Paramount, meanwhile, will host a four day, block-long immersive event for fans outside the city’s Mirage Hotel dubbed Expedition Vegas to highlight its entertainment properties. “During a historically engaging time for live sports, an enormous number of people are expected to flock to and take part in the excitement in Vegas — a city renowned for its extraordinary tourism,” said Josh Line, evp and chief brand officer, Paramount Global, in an email.

Line continued: “Our bespoke on-the-ground activations have dual purpose: They present Paramount with an unprecedented opportunity to shape a memorable fan experience ahead of our multi-platform telecast for the entire household; they also serve as venues to shoot and amplify our content, creating a full takeover across all our platforms — TV, streaming and social — the week of Super Bowl.”

There’s a recognition among marketers and agency execs that the possibilities of the Vegas setting allow brands to not only get in front of fans on the ground for the Big Game but those who happen to be in Vegas or may not care about the Super Bowl. 

Lisa Singelyn, vp of celebrity and influencer at Platinum Rye Entertainment, the talent-procurement branch of The Marketing Arm said — anecdotally — that “many” of her clients are using Vegas landmarks to reach younger audiences and to spread messaging throughout this week.

“Las Vegas lends itself to this uniquely, and brands are taking full advantage of the city that never sleeps,” Singelyn said.

While the setting allows marketers to potentially reach even more eyeballs, there’s also more competition for attention in the city. 

“Las Vegas is a place where ‘the lights never dim’ so it’s hard to stand out and brands will have to put an extra effort to shine and be noticed,” said Cinzia Crociani, McCann evp and global executive creative director, in an email. “That’s a good thing, it’s forcing brands to be more creative, innovative, and to expand their campaign beyond airing a commercial.“

Crociani added: “The smartest brands will try to seamlessly integrate themselves into the city culture and atmosphere. I expect influencers to be at the forefront of it, capturing and amplifying experiences, making sure that brands extend their reach beyond Las Vegas.”

As brands try to get more out of the Big Game and use the Vegas setting to its fullest, it’s another example of how Super Bowl efforts have to extend far beyond an ad to matter now.

“For many brands, the Super Bowl is still the ultimate moment to get all eyes on you,” said Michael Osborn, head of brand strategy at Droga5, in an email. “But despite the eye-watering cost of a 30-second spot, marketers and agencies alike know you need to do more to get the most bang for your buck.”

3 Questions with Julie Alvin, svp of content at theSkimm

What’s top of mind for theSkimm’s marketing strategy at the moment?

We’ve done a really good job of listening to our audience, what her needs and pain points are, and trying to fill that void. In doing so, we’ve definitely shifted over the past year from presenting ourselves as this audience’s smart friend to really her trusted advisor and tool kit. The way that we think about marketing for our audience, launching new products for our audience, et cetera, is really by listening to her in a way that’s really unique. Women are looking for day-to-day functional support from brands and not really getting it. So in how we’re positioning ourselves as a brand, we’ve really stepped into that void for her and you can see that across all of our products.

How do you do the listening with cookie deprivation and so much fragmentation in the marketplace? 

We have a really unique relationship with our audience. We’ve built a lot of trust with her. They offered [email addresses, insights and other] information to us. And over time, that’s created real audience trust. In a more immediate sense, as far as the industry goes, that positions us exceptionally well as far as Google cookie depreciation. There are a lot of other brands that have built their business on Google’s third-party cookie, information via web traffic or, more broadly, they’ve built their business entirely on social. But that’s not the core of our business. The core of our business is and has always been newsletter. And so as a result, we already have this information, we don’t have to cast about for it. We really have this owned audience as opposed to being reliant on these other platforms for information on user data.

What about social fragmentation? How are you guys navigating this in terms of talking to your audience?

Social, and I’m talking about Instagram and TikTok, are really entertainment platforms in their own right. The way our strategy is manifested is very different across platforms. Obviously, like on TikTok, they might be ahead of the curve on certain trending topics. It might be more about hopping on a particular trending sound. So the idea is that we’re trying to still be the same brand on all these platforms, but it’s manifesting in different ways based on what the audience is looking for on each of those platforms. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

Influencers and the creator economy are maturing, with the industry expected to be valued around $480 billion by 2027, according to multiple reports. However, a large swatch of creators earn less than $100,000 per year, making sustainable income a struggle, per a new report from Kajabi, a creator commerce platform. See key learnings from the report below:

  • For the majority of creators surveyed (66%), their income is made from only one source – brand deals.
  • 75% of top earners say you need multiple revenue streams to be a financially successful creator.
  • 36% believe the ability to grow an audience will be a top challenge in 2024. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“We have a few clients whose eyes glaze over whenever this topic has come up in recent weeks.”

— a media agency buyer who requested anonymity when asked about how marketers are reacting to Google’s third-party cookie finally crumbling

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