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GameDay Vodka’s OOH campaign kicks-off brand’s first big game appearance

by Jeremy Flynn

February 2, 2021

In just a few days, football’s biggest event of the year kicks-off inside Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium while most fans and many brands will remain outside the venue.

There’s no question, the Big Game will look and feel differently this year as safety measures are implemented inside and outside the stadium. Nonetheless, football fans are eagerly counting down the minutes until kickoff, whether they’re the ones who will enjoy the game on their TVs at home or they’re the 22,000 select individuals who will watch from the stands inside the stadium, safely and socially distanced.

Regardless, the Big Game will, once again, serve as an annual stage for some brands to engage a loyal fanbase through compelling and often times, inspiring, ads. And depending upon execution, those ads have the potential to generate buzz that lasts for days, weeks, months, or even years.

While some major brands are sitting out the broadcast this year, other brands that have thrived during the pandemic, like Vroom, Fiverr and Scotts Miracle-Gro, will join the roster as first-time Big Game advertisers. According to Ad Age, the broadcast network has now sold all of its ad inventory.

But for local and national advertisers who aren’t considering television as part of their Big Game strategy, there’s an effective and measurable way to break through and reach this nationwide fanbase in the real world — and not just in Tampa. In fact, Southwest Airlines recently added extra flights to Tampa for fans traveling in during that weekend. Local hotels are already ramping up operations to prep for incoming guests, with The Westshore Grand forecasting its occupancy at 90%.

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is playing host to local, regional and national advertisers in measurable ways to help them reach these specific audiences along the paths they journey before, during or right after the game. And just like every consumer’s journey, every brand’s journey to the Big Game is unique.

That’s the case for new spirit brand: GameDay Vodka.

From start-up to big game sponsor

In August of 2020, GameDay Vodka put consumers on notice when they made a splash via its first-ever OOH campaign with Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) in four major Florida markets, including: Jacksonville, Tampa, Gainesville, and Orlando. As an upstart challenger in the spirits industry, GameDay Vodka sought to increase overall brand awareness among its target audiences, from college sports fans to liquor enthusiasts.

“We realized sports fans weren't going anywhere and were missing normalcy in sports as much as we were,” said Giuliana Rossi, director, marketing strategy, GameDay Vodka. “The intention was to provide fans, our distributor and retailers something new to look forward to while maximizing brand awareness."

The billboard campaign proved disruptive and caught the attention of the Tampa Bay host committee, leading GameDay Vodka to be chosen as the exclusive vodka pour of the Tampa Bay Host Committee, within the Big Game Experience presented by Lowe’s. Considered by many one of the exciting events surrounding football season, the experience will take place entirely outdoors along the Tampa Riverwalk.

While the brand leveraged printed posters and digital OOH displays in key Fla. markets, it also tapped into CCO’s RADARConnect mobile retargeting capabilities to reinforce the message and drive online activity. Working with CCO, the brand started with audiences first to reach consumers based on specific behaviors and frequented points of interest.

Armed with an understanding of “who” was exposed to the OOH campaign, GameDay reinforced their message across mobile devices and achieved an average click-through rate of 0.23%, beating industry benchmarks. Moreover, the visibility of the OOH campaign opened vital new conversations for the brand with distributors, retail establishments and universities.

‘GameDay’ debut

“Even during a pandemic, our original campaign not only drove lower funnel conversions and organic search on our website, but it increased our brand visibility in driving a Big Game Host Committee partnership — a completely unintended KPI,” said Ray Horal, co-founder, GameDay Vodka.

Seeing that the initial campaign drove positive outcomes among a variety of audiences, GameDay Vodka is executing another OOH activation in conjunction with the Big Game, marking a first for the upstart spirit.

The good news for marketers is this kind of success story is not limited to Tampa, GameDay or the Big Game. Brands can strategically reach desired audiences along their evolving journeys and drive the results that matter most by integrating OOH into their 2021 marketing game plans — as it just might lead to your brand’s next “big” opportunity.

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