The cost of a 30-second advertisement during coveted Super Bowl airtime prices out most companies from running network TV ads during the broadcast. That exclusivity, however, prompts some brands to get creative with marketing campaigns that do far more than televise a product-centric message during the big game.
Goldfish is one of those brands. Karen Marks, director of integrated marketing at Pepperidge Farm, which makes the cheesy snack, says her team wanted to bring the snack to the fore of viewers’ experiences during Super Bowl 50. The way the team planned to do so was to help fans enjoy the NFL-prompted brouhaha with unique activities that include the small, cheesy crackers—especially since snacking is such a big, big part of the event.
“All brands should strive to be present during the moments that matter most to their target consumers,” Marks says. “For Goldfish crackers, we felt there was an opportunity to engage parents around the idea of keeping kids top of mind on game day through fun activities, recipes, and user-generated content.”
One of the biggest marketing challenges during events like the Super Bowl, however, is that the volume of messages creates so much noise that’s tough for brands to break through. “We have to work to solve that signal-to-noise problem,” says Claudia Page, head of creator partnerships at Crowdtap, which worked with marketers at Pepperidge Farm to stand out from the litany of marketing messages leading up to and during Super Bowl 50. “To solve that problem, creating conversation is really the most strategic approach—especially for brands that don’t have the bigger budgets to play on mediums like TV or commercial ad spots.”
Page says that to create a conversation, chatter has to be relevant and meaningful to the target audience—in this case millennial moms. She says that one of the most effective ways to do that is to pull these consumers into brand messaging with user-generated content. “Goldfish has really been looking to find moments of joy with their brand, and wanted to make sure that they were engaging with and tapping into [content] creators and their ideas,” Page says. “Because their ideas matter.”
Marks says millennial moms—who so often are influential among their circles and want an outlet for creativity—crave to test and craft their own foodie ideas, especially during big events. “[That’s one reason] we chose to focus our communications on parents looking for fun activities or recipes to enjoy with their children on game day,” she says.
Marketers for Goldfish used a combination of Crowdtap algorithms and editorial selection to determine which mom bloggers to invite to make unique and tasty dishes that included Goldfish products. The team selected about a dozen influential millennial moms to create two rounds of content during the 30 days leading up to the game.
These popular bloggers crafted a captivating blend of distinctive recipes, imaginative arts-and-crafts projects, and fun learning exercises, as well as shared personal stories and photos.
“We targeted parents—with children ages 12 and under—and leveraged our influencer communities to develop engaging recipes, snack ideas, and activities, then shared them across our owned platforms and website,” Marks says.
Page notes that the results during the month-long campaign went beyond numbers—and beyond that initial time frame. “We saw page views go up, much of it on these individual blogs that featured Goldfish products in their projects. Generally impressions went up; engagement went up,” she says. “But one of the most incredible tactics was creating these assets that the audience could take away and use for future games and events. It keeps the brand top-of-mind.”
Marks says that through this most recent project, Goldfish’s marketing team learned how important it is to activate influencers when attempting to rise above the noise. “We’ve learned to be specific and purposeful in how we work with influencers, leveraging different communities based on their strengths,” she adds.
She and Page say it’s a lesson that transcends equating value with the number of people reached. “This is something that brands should incorporate in their strategies going forward,” Page says. “Don’t be so focused numbers…create conversation at specific events or sharable moments that incorporate the entire family.”