Ken Kraetzer Attends Super Bowl 50

by Ken Kraetzer

Considered one of the largest sporting events in America, Super Bowl 50 was a marketers dream – and especially rewarding for those on the receiving end of the money spent on commercials. Only two weeks removed from the event and prognisticators are anticipating an 11% increase in per ad fees or Super Bowl 51. NBC charged as much as $4.5 million for an ad during the most recent Super Bowl. Next year, CBS will charge more than $5M for a 30 second spot.

More so, Super Bowl 50 experienced the largest number of total commercials ever broadcast for the NFL’s marquee event. Super Bowl 50 had more ad time and promos than either Super Bowl XLVIII, which contained 49 minutes and 15 seconds, or Super Bowl XLVIX, which contained 48 minutes and 5 seconds.

But why does that matter to financial institutions that could not afford to participate directly in Super Bowl advertising? Answer: increased transactions.

As a fortunate fan of the game – and knowing the right people – I was able to be part of the enormous ritual. Had a ticket to all the festivities before, during and after the game. Given cbsi’s relationships with several bank sponsors, I was curious to see the impact our financial institutions partners were having on the event.

To no surprise, Visa played a significant role as both advertiser and sponsor of the event. Considering the game was played in Visa’s backyard (Visa headquarters are in San Francisco), it’s no suprise Visa pulled out all the stops in support of both the game and its community.

It made me think: What can transaction providers, whether large or small, do to generate their own form of marketing or customer engagement with the Super Bowl as a platform?

For example, prior to and during the game, other notable institutions ofered various VIP-type experiences to card members. For example, Chase MileagePlus Cardholders could join the Chase VIP Lounge at MarketBar in San Francisco during the week of the event. Chase also offered its United Cardmembers the chance to meet NFL legends Dan Marino, Jerry Rice and Steve Young at en event hosted at the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

Could a local community credit union offer the same type of event – albeit without the notable sports stars – to get people to either use the card or to create a dynamic customer experience that maintains loyalty? Something to think about.

More interesting tibits from the event …

  • Hats off to all the security people who worked to be visible and certainly in plain clothes versions to keep all safe. Security dogs were working all over. At our hotel on the Embarcadero we had to show our credentials to get in the driveway, hotel door and to enter elevators.
  • The Host committee had volunteers at the airport to greet flights, welcome all to San Francisco, and provide directions.
  • Private plane business was active, an airline representative said that 450 private planes came in for the game which required use of 11 different airports.
  • Several companies and financial institutions had large banners displayed on their buildings visible from miles.
  • Game day started with being issued tickets with bar codes and disclosure on the back. By having the ticket scanned you agreed that your likeness could be used if taken during the event. Interesting to read that “Ticketholders may not transmit or aid in transmitting and photos, images or videos in any media…” Seems like there were 50,000 plus smartphones in the stands constantly uploading to Twitter, Facebook, and the like.
  • Speaking of social media support, the wifi in Levy’s Stadium provided by Avaya was very strong and I never had a delay in posting photos and video which often happens at stadiums when thousands are uploading at the same time. Sports Illustrated wrote when the Stadium opened that “70 miles of wire support WiFi, with an access point every 100 seats, supporting bandwidth 40 times larger than any known US stadium”.
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