Lessons on how to create buzz.

By Amber Hudson

Are you ready for some footbaaaaaaaal!  Chicken wings are flying off store shelves, cases of beer are going in the fridge, and couches are being rearranged for maximum viewing of Sunday’s Super Bowl.  And in the midst of all this prep there is no shortage of stories that show this may turn out to be a very special year…or just a weird one. 

First, did you notice the NFL decided to drop the famous Roman numerals because they didn’t like how Super Bowl “L” looked?  Turns out they’ve been thinking about this since 2013, went through 73 versions (!) of the logo only to conclude the “L” as a standalone letter wasn’t going to work.  Definitely weird to not see the iconic, powerful letters that make up a big part of the brand identity.

They’ve also changed the logo, from the traditional red and blue to gold to commemorate the game’s golden anniversary as well as the game’s location in the “Golden State”.  Again, off brand.

Speaking of hosting the Super Bowl in northern California – wine is playing a big role in this event.  Wine!  It’s a staple at Levi’s Stadium where vintages from more than 60 California wineries are available.  My brain hurts….

The half time show is a confusing mishmash of genres with both Beyoncé and Coldplay performing.

Lastly, this year it’s about old vs. young, the past vs. future with Peyton Manning going up against Cam Newton.  The 13 year age difference makes it the largest age gap between two starting quarterbacks and Manning at 39 will be the oldest QB to ever start the Super Bowl.  Score one for special.

The NFL is the master of hype, always providing plenty of debate fodder.  But even they can’t be everything to everyone without sending mixed signals.  For your brand, think about what you can do to create stories that spark conversation with your fans. But please pick a lane to avoid confusion (and try not to mess with your brand assets along the way).