Thanks to Tim Manners (www.Reveries.com) for catching a Wall St. Journal article (subscription required) article by Suzanne Vranica earlier this week about how advertisers are flocking to the Super Bowl, not to run high-priced commercials, but to create brand experiences for the attendees.
Among the marketers setting up tents and running activities for the Super Bowl attendees are Motorola (navigate an obstacle course blindfolded but supplied with a wireless headset), Campbell's Soup (sample soup or play the Armchair Quarterback game), General Motors (free ride to the stadium in a Cadillac or watch celebrity go-kart races), and DaimlerChrysler (test drive a Jeep on a specially constructed track). Apparently not returning this year is Proctor & Gamble's Charmin Ultra Mobile Potty Palooza, which is now touring the country and racking up flushes at state fairs.
Event marketing -- a term encompassing everything from simple product sampling to concerts and elaborate interactive kiosks -- is one of the fastest-growing tactics in marketers' repertoires. U.S. spending on event marketing grew 15% to $152 billion in 2003, according to the Promotions Marketing Association. While total spending isn't available for 2004, the group says it expects there was an increase of more than 15%.