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How FedEx Delivered 12 NFL Halftime Shows Early



Creatives at BBDO New York and the FedEx brand team discuss the ‘Playoffs Concert Series’ streaming on TikTok ahead of the Super Bowl, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

How FedEx Delivered 12 NFL Halftime Shows Early

Last year, over 150 million people tuned in for the NFL playoffs - but there was one thing missing… a classic Super Bowl-style halftime show. With an equally large audience expected to watch the playoffs this year, American shipping company FedEx saw an opportunity to tap into pre-Super Bowl hype in a unique way. The brand took the opportunity to give 12 up-and-coming TikTok artists, many of whom are unsigned, the opportunity to perform for a massive number of viewers in its new campaign: 'FedEx NFL Playoffs Concert Series.'

Partnering with creative agency BBDO New York, invitations were sent (via FedEx, of course) to each artist, highlighting the courier’s new ‘picture proof of delivery’ service and allowing artists to quickly begin preparing for their performances. Streaming on the artists' TikTok accounts, the musicians held their shows during halftime at each game - and after six games and 12 posts, the performances have received over 7 million views and 187,000 likes.

Speaking to LBB’s Ben Conway, the BBDO New York team explains, “With so much emphasis and ad dollars spent on the Super Bowl every year, we knew we had to do something completely different in order to stand out from the noise. Unable to compete with the Super Bowl budgets, we turned to the playoffs, which - despite having over 150 million viewers annually - felt like a relatively untapped space.”

Creating a campaign to fit with FedEx’s historic support of small businesses, the BBDO team says they picked ‘up-and-coming unsigned artists and under-represented genres’ to showcase in the concert series - giving them a platform beyond their usual bedrooms and basements, while keeping it authentic and ‘as TikTok-native as possible’.

Also commenting on the campaign, the FedEx brand team says that TikTok was chosen as the platform of choice to capture the attention of a larger portion of the younger demographic. “TikTok is critical because it’s where young people are spending their time,” they share. “We love working with micro-influencers because of the authenticity of their content, the intimate relationship they have with their audience and the genuine excitement they bring to working with our brand.”

With no real halftime shows at NFL playoff games, the BBDO team used the insight that many fans would likely be using the spare 10 or so minutes to check social media - betting that a significant portion would be scrolling through the ever more popular TikTok app. Using paid targeting media, the team designed the campaign to appear naturally on people’s feeds, which is why they kept it to TikTok and hosted on the FedEx-run accounts that produce organic social content.

One of the project’s hardest challenges, according to the FedEx brand team, was finding the right artists to represent FedEx and put on a special concert that would capture the eyeballs of the social scrollers. “Everyone watches with their phone in their hand  – keeping up with the action on social media - so we’re trying to create valuable second-screen experiences, particularly during halftime, where we see a gap in the content,” they explain. “We wanted a mix of genres of music, and to demonstrate the diversity of talent that is out there.” 

To find the “perfect line-up”, the BBDO team say that they used the agency’s proprietary ‘creator scoring system’ to give them a headstart in the search. “[It] brings together our influencer, marketing science and connections departments to help us discover the creators or influencers that make the most sense for our objective.” They add, “Our influencer lead, Lucy Bennett, and the creative team pulled together a diverse group of 12 up-and-coming artists with different styles and audiences… It was really like putting a puzzle together. We had many combinations of artists, and ultimately went with one that we felt was the most diverse musically and featured genres that are generally underrepresented in typical halftime shows.”

As they did in this campaign, the BBDO New York creatives also say that advertising during the playoffs in the build-up to the Super Bowl is becoming a more popular marketing strategy. Describing how companies can start to build hype for their Big Game spots or make unique playoff-related content, they say, “It seems like more brands are using the playoffs to gear up to a larger Super Bowl reveal - either teasing a concept or taking advantage of an audience which is primed to think about the Super Bowl and football in general. The Super Bowl is a moment in time, [so] by unlocking the time before it - we extend that [moment] and hopefully drive effective creative work.”

For them, the key to standing out as we approach the game of games didn’t just rely on being early - they also ensured that their musicians had the freedom “to do what felt the most authentic to their personal style.” This added layer of authenticity - on top of using TikTok in a carefully targeted approach to the demographic they wanted to reach - is what the team attributes to the millions of views that the campaign has resulted in thus far.

They conclude, “It may sound obvious, but if you want to stand out around the Super Bowl or any event, it all comes down to a robust strategic approach leading to brilliant creative - and that is what we feel we delivered. We took into account how our audience is now consuming content and how we can deliver a message which is aligned with who we are, while still delivering value.”

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BBDO New York, Fri, 03 Feb 2023 16:10:00 GMT