Advertisers: Get More Bang for Your Buck During the Big Game

February 15, 2022, Amy Burnside

Advertisers: Get More Bang for Your Buck During the Big Game

February 15, 2022, Amy Burnside

Advertisers: Get More Bang for Your Buck During the Big Game

February 15, 2022, Amy Burnside

Advertisers: Get More Bang for Your Buck During the Big Game

February 15, 2022, Amy Burnside

Advertisers: Get More Bang for Your Buck During the Big Game

February 15, 2022, Amy Burnside


I didn’t have big plans for the game this year, so I decided to replace the beer in one hand (and the chicken wing in the other) with a pen and some paper. The work we do at Merkle Promotion & Loyalty Solutions creates digital experiences that delight people and motivate them to directly engage in a brand moment. And speaking of brand moments, the big game was rife with them!

My coworkers and I are always thinking about innovative promotional strategies, so I decided to enlist their help. To capture their attention on a Sunday afternoon, I ran my own promotion: For the chance to win a one hundred dollar gift card, I asked the team to send me their digital activation ideas for the brands that ran ads during the big game - and they delivered!

When a television spot costs up to seven million dollars, you want that commercial to yield more than just awareness and buzz; you want it to create a direct connection with your audience. Read below to learn how brands could’ve gotten more bang for their buck.

Ashleigh Nies, Account Director

Favorite Football Team: MSU Spartans

Michelob ULTRA | Welcome to Superior Bowl: To further engage with the Super Bowl audiences that Anheuser – Busch spends so much money on, the brand could extend the experience surrounding its tv spots. The experience would start in store as consumers shop for the big game: the ULTRA display would tease “picking up a pack for the big game” and “tuning in” for exclusive access in ULTRA commercials during the game. After the spot airs, consumers would be prompted to scan the unique on-pack icon to launch an AR experience, bringing the Superior Bowling alley into their living room. Users pick which GOAT they want to play against. Knowing that loyalty engagement can be low with a television commercial, our extended experience would drive consumers to My Cooler: here they’d find a shareable leaderboard, along with various chances to win. Since PR buzz is a persistent goal for all Anheuser – Busch brands, prizing would be epic, including exclusive NFTs featuring the stars from the ad and a Grand Prize of being an honorary inductee to “The Superior Bowl” (which would include a personalized bowling shirt and a beer fridge stocked with ULTRA products).


Amy Burnside, Senior Director, Content Strategy

Favorite Football Team: Denver Broncos

Lay’s Golden MemoriesI’m a huge fan of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Lay’s Classic potato chips, so I’d add a hashtag sweepstakes to the Lay’s Golden Memories commercial. Ask consumers to share a favorite memory with a friend on Twitter/Insta and have them use the hashtag #staygolden and tag their friend and @LAYS. To incent this behavior, participants would be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a lifetime supply of Lay’s products. In addition, drive viewers online to register with their email address for a bonus instant win gamified experience: Registrants would play a Pachinko-style game where Paul Rudd drops Lay’s potato chips into Seth Rogen’s mouth. Instant win prizes for this game would be coupons for Lay’s products.


Autumn Nelson, Copy Director

Favorite Football Team: Detroit Lions, of course - LOL

Alexa Mind Reader: Let’s do omni-channel solutions:

  • Social activation: Tell us what Alexa would do if she could read YOUR mind. Use the #AlexaMindReader hashtag. Ten lucky winners get their wish granted. It’s that easy.
  • Voice activation: Say the prompt, “Alexa, what am I thinking?” And Alexa would have a hilarious mind-reading answer. This would be different every time you ask. She would also suggest other Alexa features you don’t currently use to encourage daily interactive engagement with the smart speaker.
  • Digital Engagement Hub: To boost product/service education and awareness, discover all of the ways Alexa can improve your life! Take a quick survey to make the experience more personalized (more data). To learn more, play a trivia contest for the chance to win the ultimate prize: Amazon delivery for life AND a large cash prize. Be featured in the 2023 Super Bowl ad as an extension sequel to show how Alexa enhances everyday life, even if you’re not a celebrity. 
  • Tiktok extension: People would do a video about their Alexa mind-reading engagement with the same hashtag and their astonished reactions – “How Alexa read MY mind!” (dance added, of course).


Craig Heiter, Senior Manager, Strategy & Insights

Favorite Football Team: Detroit Lions (unfortunately)

Coinbase QR Code: The world of cryptocurrency is filled with competing exchanges and consumers looking for guidance. While Coinbase's bouncing QR code did a great job of driving traffic to their site (although the app crashed so they probably needed better hosting capabilities), I feel there was an opportunity to add an incentive to enable greater conversion. When a consumer scanned the code, instead of being taken to the main landing page, they could have been shown a promotional overlay page that promised some type of bonus (like deposit matching or free Ethereum) when new users register. With the number of eyes (and camera lenses) on the commercial, a guaranteed reward or bonus might have enabled a spike in new user sign ups in addition to high site traffic. 


Dominique Wnuk, Senior Director, Business Manager

Favorite Football Team: Green Bay Packers

Uber Don’t Eats: A commercial with celebrities poking fun at themselves (bless you, Gwyneth Paltrow) is buzz worthy as heck, but even more than driving awareness with a fun tv spot, Uber needs to get members to convert to the subscription-based Uber Eats Pass (beyond the “one month free” hook). Uber should use its hub as a place to create moments and drive engagement (which helps lead to adoption) by including elements of gamification (purchasing different kinds of essentials to earn various rewards, for instance) could help to jumpstart behaviors and referrals, and even quick hitting games (Super Market Sweep, anyone?) would increase time spent with the brand. The continued success of any subscription-based model, however, is built upon fitting into the lives of a consumer and her or his journey. With a delivery provider like Uber Eats, the consumer’s loyalty is split between two brands: the distributor and the retailer. As an intermediary, Uber Eats sits in a unique position of convenience for the consumer and necessity for retailers and must find ways to ensure the consumer thinks of Uber Eats as a brand first (rather than the tool to get them non-edible diapers or Goop candles). Offers are good, but creating moments underpinned by data will help drive loyalty for Uber.


And by the way, are you a retailer or restaurant who has been affected by the low contact shopping behaviors (ecommerce and delivery) brought on by the pandemic? Check out Long Distance Loyalty: How Retailers can Build and Grow Customer Relationships at Pickup and Delivery for help!


Jayme Gehrke, Senior Account Director

Favorite Football Team: LA Rams (gotta have love for Stafford)

Flamin’ Hot Push It: Via social, consumers would be encouraged to post a video of themselves busting a move to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” hit song, along with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Doritos. To be entered for a chance to win, consumers will simply use the #Flamin’HotMovesContest hashtag in their post. Merkle would create a digital experience that encourages consumers to opt in for the brand’s email database. Within this online experience, consumers would be able to view the top five entries, engage with an Instant Win game (to help drive repeat engagement with the brand), and vote for their favorite video. Sharing the experience would yield even more votes, and the winner of the contest would get their choice of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Doritos for a year!


Jen Gray, SVP, Experience Creative

Favorite Football Team: Tie between Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions

Carvana Oversharing Mom: We all know this oversharing mom IRL (or just maybe some of us are oversharing moms ourselves?!). She’s so proud of her accomplishment of buying a new car on her own, online no less, and making a new best friend in the process (Susan, who made it all so easy). The repetitive narrative in the spot of simplifying and personalizing the purchase process at no risk is a great way to put potential customers at ease. However, there was an opportunity to extend the content and create more of a call to action around the tag “We’ll drive you happy at Carvana.”  With the state of the industry today, and high demand for both new and used cars, incent app downloads and engagement and make one lucky person happy by winning a new ride! The brand would have captured the interest of new and lapsed customers. The brand could also extend the personal, helpful connection they are suggesting by offering to meet “Susan” on your smart speaker at home for a fun and educational interaction: “Ask Susan how she can help you with more info about Carvana.”


Jessica Brucale, Enterprise Sales Lead

Favorite Football Team: NY Giants

Peacock (upcoming shows): There were a plethora of ads featuring new and upcoming programs on Peacock. Peacock should take these commercials one step further and incent consumers to tune in and win! For instance, every person who tunes in to the brand new “Bel-Air” (at some point following the Big Game) would look for a secret word (on screen, on air, in a commercial, etc.) that drove them to a microsite where they would enter their information and the secret word for a chance to win a VIP trip to Los Angeles. Bonus: Peacock would then have new leads generated for marketing purposes!


Kaitlyn Mitchell, Senior Director, Strategy & Insights

Favorite Football Team: Detroit Lions

Toyota Start Your Impossible: The tagline for the commercial was "Start Your Impossible," so let’s enhance the spend with a social contest that fits that theme: Participants are incented to enter the contest by sharing a story of how they made the impossible possible and the experience would include a hub where users can share a future goal and track their milestones. Goal trackers would earn instant win plays every time they check in and encourage other participants on their goal-tracking journey, and the contest winner would get a brand new Toyota.


Lisa Finateri, Account Director

Favorite Football Team: Detroit Lions

Rocket Homes and Rocket Mortgage Dream House: I’d add a sweepstakes and instant win promotion to this spot. Consumers would be directed to a microsite where they would register and then take a personality quiz to determine if they’re most like Barbie, Better Offer Betty, Cash Offer Carl, or House Flipper Skipper. Once complete, consumers would find out if they’ve instantly won a prize as well as earn a sweepstakes entry for the chance to win their mortgage being paid off (up to $X amount). The data collected upon registration (and subsequent visits) would help inform future Rocket Homes marketing communications.


Marius Froehlich, Senior Manager, Strategy & Insights

Favorite Football Team: Detroit Lions

BMW Zeus & Hera: Zeus retires and is constantly being asked by other retirees in his community to zap appliances, tools, and machines back to life using his mythical powers. While the big reveal at the end is Zeus getting into BMW’s new iX electric car and driving off (without having to charge it first), the commercial has legs for an online digital extension. At the end of the commercial, consumers would be directed to visit a brand microsite on their smart phone to participate in the Charged Up SweepstiXes. Once registered, consumers are randomly assigned an appliance or device that needs to be charged up (like a TV, gaming console, air fryer, etc.) and are then instructed to repeatedly tap their finger on the appliance on their smart phone screen to charge it up, just like Zeus did in the commercial. If they are lucky, they will instantly win the appliance they just charged up. Participants can come back each quarter of the Super Bowl for a chance to charge and win a new randomly assigned appliance, keeping them engaged all game long. Just for playing, all participants would also be entered into a sweepstakes drawing for a brand new BMW iX!


Rachel Boggs, Studio Production Artist

Favorite Football Team: don’t have one

Amazon The Rings of Power (trailer): I have been obsessed with the Lord of the Rings since the movies came out 20 years ago and was really excited to see “The Rings of Power” trailer. Since the new show takes place thousands of years before the “Fellowship of the Ring,” digital engagement activities could introduce people who loved the movies (but didn’t read the books) on what to expect. The online experience could include content about characters and locations (sweepstakes entries could be given for interacting with content) as well as an instant win game focused on the forging of the Rings. Because there were many lesser rings made before the final One Ring, we could offer a range of instant prizes that would match the hierarchy of the rings, and the sweepstakes grand prize could be the chance to be an extra in the show!


Tim Chilcote, Senior Copywriter

Favorite Football Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

All-Electric Chevy Silverado New Generation: At the end of the television spot, send viewers to a gaming microsite where visitors play a retro/throwback version of the Nintendo “Duck Hunt” video game (thematic tie to Tony Soprano and the ducks). Upon completion of the game, user results would be a shareable image displaying their score, along with bagged ducks and a hunting dog, in the bed of the new Silverado. By using the #ElectricTruckDuck hashtag and tagging Chevy and Nintendo on social, participants would be entered for a chance to win Sopranos-themed swag, retro Nintendo gaming consoles, and a new truck.