football game

How brands and agencies are preparing hybrid war rooms for this year’s Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday is just days away and brands and agencies have once again locked down and loaded their war room strategies, ready to react to the cultural moments of the Big Game in real time.

But even as the return to physical, in-person gatherings has accelerated post-pandemic, a number of agencies and their clients will return to the Big Game this year with virtual or hybrid war rooms. This is a trend that will continue from 2020. According to marketers, the virtual element is largely to make room for remote workers – something that has become more common during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has really changed the way these war rooms are set up. They were once veritable war rooms in person. Now for us it’s just a Teams channel,” said Shelby Jacobs, senior social strategist at Dentsu Creative. “Hoping that someday we’ll make them [in-person] again, but depends on the landscape of returning to the office.

As the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs face off at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, media outlets Dentsu Creative, Tinuiti, Modifly and Barstool Sports will tune into the Big Game remotely, looking for opportunities to connect. express on cultural moments and topical issues. on social networks. Tracking these moments in real time allows agencies and their clients to not only be part of these conversations, but to lead them.

Modifly will have around 15 people in its own war room to stay on top of the Big Game, according to Brandon Biancalani, paid advertising manager at Modifly. Meanwhile, Barstool is taking a hybrid approach with eight people in the physical war room and another 25 people working remotely on other Barstool brands, said Paul Gulczynski, Barstool’s social media manager.

“We have a team of people who will be in a war room, we will have a group chat going on. We will have a Slack channel with all the different ideas,” he said. “We will watch the game on one screen. We will look at our Barstool personalities [and] watch the game on another screen.

Meanwhile, as the pandemic has subsided, big brands like State Farm and, of course, the NFL, will have war rooms and in-person activations to quickly respond to Super Bowl games, brand spots and at other cultural times. Given State Farm’s naming rights this year, the insurance brand will be “boots on the field in Arizona in our stadium,” according to Alyson Griffin, State Farm’s chief marketing officer.

Also at the stadium is the NFL, which will have two additional war rooms in Los Angeles and New York for the duration of the show. That said, there will be two separate social media teams, one for the Philadelphia Eagles and one for the Kansas City Chiefs, said Ian Trombetta, vice president of social marketing, influencer and content for the NFL.

“It will be real time in the sense of what is happening on the pitch and what is happening in and around the stadium,” Trombetta said.

internet speed

In the age of social media, war rooms have become centers of real-time marketing. From Oreo’s Super Bowl Dunk in the Dark tweet in 2013, in which the cookie brand was able to capitalize on a massive power outage by posting a tweet that read “You can always dive in the dark”, it was a race for attention.

This year is no different. (Read the definitive oral history of the Super Bowl War Room here.)

“The speed at which we try to move, the speed of the Internet [is] if you’re not first, you’re last with reactions,” Gulczynski said, emphasizing the importance of a quick reaction time to hone, capitalize on pop culture references and be part of cultural moments. which are taking place.

That said, agencies and their clients have already launched social listening strategies, including logging on to Twitter and TikTok to tap into cultural moments. TikTok, in particular, will be a big priority for agencies this year as the platform has continued to grow in popularity and recently made a play for owning the Super Bowl’s second screen.

“We like to keep an eye on Twitter largely because it’s the fastest platform for people to give feedback (and it’s also the easiest way to follow trends),” Biancalani said. in a statement emailed to Digiday. “However, this year we will also have a tab on TikTok with a particular focus on mining user-generated comments to find out how people have actually reacted to ads in the TikTok community.”

This year, as in previous years, the Super Bowl will take a holistic approach for many agencies and their clients, especially as the digital media landscape continues to be fragmented and new platforms present new opportunities. For Jameka Whitten, CEO and Senior Publicist of JSW Media Group, it’s more Wild West this year than in previous years, given the changes.

“I expect the unexpected. Anything can happen, you just have to be ready for it,” Whitten said.

Julian Canon contributed to the reporting of this story.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *