We’re just days away before the National Football League’s big game on Sunday between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
Two brands, one a Super Bowl stalwart and another a newbie, take PRWeek behind the scenes of their social media “war rooms” — set up virtually, of course — from the monitoring tools they’ve put in place to the conversations they’ll be looking to jump into during the broadcast.
After not producing a Super Bowl ad last year for the first time in 37 years — instead making a donation to COVID-19 vaccination awareness — Budweiser is returning with a 30-second commercial from Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao. It features one of the brand’s iconic Clydesdale horses making a triumphant return from injury, conveying a message of resiliency and hope. A 60-second version of A Clydesdale’s Journey was posted to YouTube this month.
Team in the war room: In-house brand and creative strategists, designers, copywriters, community managers and PR pros.
“Every person on the team has a clear role and responsibility,” Kristina Punwani, head of marketing at Budweiser U.S.A., says. “Our creative team is on standby to whip up content in real time, our community management team is tracking and responding to comments and our PR team is on the lookout for opportunistic earned moments. We are all working together to keep the conversation going and engaging with our consumers.”
Allison+Partners is Budweiser’s AOR and has been handling earned media leading up to the game. VaynerMedia is the creative shop working on the campaign.
Tools: Social media management software Sprinklr “to monitor and engage in conversation as well as TweetDeck to watch what’s trending,” says Punwani.
Game-day motto: “Our social war room is an essential part of game day. How we show up on social media is just as important as how we show up on TV,” she says. “And with consumers turning to their phones to tweet their reactions to commercials, it’s crucial that we have a team in place to respond and interact in real time.”
Plans to intercept: With additional Clydesdale content and behind-the-scenes photos from the making of the ad. This content will be shared in commercial breaks during the broadcast, “an activation we’re calling Eyes on the Clydes,” says Punwani. “We’ll also be giving away a year’s worth of Buds and a Clydesdale neon through each commercial break to people who tweet #EyesOnTheClydes.”
As well during the game, “if there’s a big play, we want to have a Clydesdale GIF ready to post. If there’s a big moment in the halftime show, we want to hop in with something relevant.”
Competitor’s mentality: “Heading into the war room as a marketer on Super Bowl, you feel like an athlete. It’s the biggest day of the year for your brand and you have to be on your ‘A’ game,” says Punwani. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into the weeks, even months, leading up to make sure we’re armed with everything we need to be the most talked about brand at the game.”
The first-ever TV spot for the smart charging company introduces viewers to a real-life lightning-strike survivor and humorously illustrates his understandable fear of electricity — powering his washing machine by bicycle, for example. But the Wallbox charger he uses for his electrical vehicle has him embracing the power source again because of its safety record. Titled #SuperchargedSeth, the spot is set to air during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI.
Agencies: Ogilvy is working on social media. Alison Brod Marketing + Communications is also working on Wallbox's Super Bowl campaign. David Madrid and David Buenos Aires led on creative. Ogilvy speciality agency Eicoff handled media buys.
Team in the war room: About four from Ogilvy and a small team of community managers at Wallbox, some of them based in the company’s Barcelona headquarters. They are using apps like WhatsApp to communicate virtually.
Tools: TweetDeck. “You have to prioritize platforms for the Super Bowl, and the conversation as we all know is going to be on Twitter,” says Tiffany Chu, social strategy director at Ogilvy who is overseeing its war room team. “We decided on TweetDeck as our platform because it helps with trending and recommending hashtags." As for Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms, she says they are relying on native tools “as the conversation on those is more manageable and Wallbox hasn’t tapped into a full social media management system yet."
Pre-game planning: “We put a lot of effort in the planning, because even though you are reacting to a live event, a social media war room doesn’t work unless you’re prepped and ready to go,” says Chu. Planning started in early January, and led to the creation of a decision tree for quick social media response. “It helps us to decide when we do a GIFF [from the ad], when we use copy or reach out to the client and say, ‘Hey, this could be something a little outside of your comfort zone, but to respond this way could be a really big win.’”
How it plans to intercept: In addition to about the ad and the Super Bowl itself — “it would have been great had the Los Angeles Chargers made it to the Super Bowl,” notes Chu, for a fun play on words — Wallbox will also look to participate on the social conversation about electric vehicles, given General Motors, Kia, Nissan and BMW are also expected to advertise their EV brands during the Super Bowl.
“Wallbox is quite new, and so we have the added effort of introducing and educating people about the brand, while also being unique with our content and standing out given we’re fighting against all the noise of the Oreos of the world.”
Measure of success: “At the end of the day, it is one tweet you did right that is going to be remembered — not about blasting out millions of different tweet replies,” says Chu. “It is about picking the right moment.”