Before the “big game,” Brandon Koppel, Director of Marketing at ENTER, delves into a unique perspective on the Super Bowl phenomenon—one that goes beyond the well-trodden path of dissecting commercials and halftime shows. Koppel navigates through the unparalleled entertainment landscape of Las Vegas, emphasizing how the city's cultural ascendancy sets the stage for a weekend that extends far beyond the football game, becoming a cornerstone for the advertising and marketing communications industry.
Meat District @ Shaq's Funhouse 2022
So much is written about the advertising industry when it comes to the Super Bowl. There is a wide range of articles waxing poetic about how much a :30 second spot sold for, which brands are returning, which brands are making their big game debut, who might be the special guest during the halftime show (presented by Apple Music, of course) and which agencies provided the work. It’s a never-ending carousel of topics that are rehashed year after year in the trades. The ads themselves represent the best creative minds of our time—some give you goosebumps, and some are likely to fall flat. Many will be discussed the Monday after at the water cooler, and even more will be analyzed ad nauseam for all posterity. Like the football game itself, there will be winners and losers, and it has absolutely become part of the lexicon of the weekend across all cultural influences.
But to many in the know, the commercials aren’t where the real action is when it comes to Super Bowl weekend. As an experiential marketer with over two decades of big game experience producing some of the most high-profile events each year, the biggest story of the weekend is always about the parties and special events that lift the weekend to even greater heights. Some might even call it the Super Bowl of Marketing.
Each year is certainly different, as the host city conveys its own unique fingerprint on the type of weekend one can expect as they embark on their Super Bowl journey. Minnesota and Indianapolis don’t exactly inspire the same enthusiasm as, say, a New York, Los Angeles, or Miami. There is one city that likely stands above all, and it will absolutely be Las Vegas. If there was any doubt whether Sin City was the true cultural and entertainment capital of the United States, the last few years have absolutely erased the notion. From the introduction of The Sphere to a massively successful launch of F1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, to the emergence of the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium along with the pending additions of both an NBA and an MLB franchise, there’s no doubt about the pedigree of the market. Along with more hotel, restaurant and nightclub openings than you can count, the city is truly burning hotter than ever.
Natural Light Seltzer with Rick Ross, Super Bowl 2020
As we look ahead to Super Sunday, the landscape is proving to be even more competitive than initially imagined. Even the tech billionaires and celebrities themselves are having trouble navigating, as there are no longer any private plane parking spots at Harry Reid Airport.
For starters, the properties themselves are just world-class and will continue to perform as such. TAO Group, already the reigning hospitality king of Las Vegas, is sure to deliver as they program dozens of nightclubs and restaurants, respectively from Hakkassan to Omnia, their flagship TAO and even highly regarded newcomer Luchini. They will be closely followed by the team from Wynn Nightlife who control the most high-profile destinations in the city and will likely have the toughest of all velvet ropes to cross past. Wynn and Encore resorts are ground zero for the well-heeled jet setter crowd and expect to see a lot of bruised egos standing outside Delilah and XS this weekend. Finally, I have been really impressed with the team from Resorts World and they are programming some incredible events all week long, and rumor has it that a certain AFC team has the nightclub at Zouk reserved for an event Sunday evening. You can do the math on that one.
This all just provides the backdrop for what follows: a tidal wave of brand owned events, sponsorships and activations not just tethered to these hotels and properties themselves, but currently being built across the entire strip. Starting with the NFL Fan Experience, the Super Bowl has become the penultimate setting for any brand looking to engage with highly engaged sports fans that skew favorably on most ethnographic metrics, and touch a set of passion points that few weekends could even come close to matching.
Some of the most anticipated events of the week include the Sports Illustrated Invitational Golf event at TPC Las Vegas, The Hwood Homecoming (Adjacent to the Wynn), The Klutch Sports & Draft Kings reception, Shaq’s Fun House, Guy Fieri’s Tailgate, The Playboy Party, The Maxim Casino Royale and, you can’t forgot to mention the Fanatics party, easily the toughest ticket of the entire weekend (and that includes Wynn Club at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday where tables start at $250,000.00). You can do the math on that one as well, but think of it like the Met Ball but for the sports illuminati.
JCPenney @ SI The Party 2022
If all of this wasn’t adding up, just to further exacerbate my earlier point about Las Vegas being the epicenter of culture in the United States, this doesn’t even include concerts from Adele and U2, comedy performances from Sebastian Maniscalco, Bert Kresicher and Tom Segura, a Las Vegas Kings professional Hockey game, a UFC Fight Night and an entire LIV Golf event all set for the same time.
None of this is possible without the brands and corporate marketing budgets funding a massive amount of hospitality for the executives and their guests leading to over a $1 billion economic impact on the city in just one weekend. When it comes to events, the NFL is all business, and as the most successful professional sports league in our country, it should come as no surprise that their biggest weekend has also come to mean very much the same thing for the entire advertising and marketing communications industry.