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Our Supervisor of Public Relations and Brand Development, Evan Vladem, was on the ground in Houston for Super Bowl LI to seek out the top experiential activations. Super Bowl LI offered two official locations for brands to activate, including the ticketed NFL Experience (which housed premium activations) and the free-to-the-public fan fest, Super Bowl Live. Here are his insights:

Microsoft – As an official NFL partner, Microsoft’s NFL Experience activation easily topped the list. The Microsoft Creators Lab featured a gigantic, couldn’t miss projection dome. After collecting contact information, consumers were able to use Microsoft Surface products to design custom jerseys, helmets and footballs. Participants’ designs were then massively displayed inside the dome.IMG_0038GE – With multiple displays at Super Bowl Live, GE featured a 12-foot-tall barbecue smoker to show off their tech prowess and connectivity. Constructed of both steel and unconventional laboratory glassware, the GE Super Smoker was filled with tasty brisket from local pit masters. A visual display showed stats of the chamber temperature as the meat cooked. Attendees could then sample and judge the meat at no cost.IMG_0127IMG_0124At GE’s second location, about a football field away from the smoker, consumers could learn how GE thermal imaging worked. Fans had the opportunity to take a custom, thermal energy picture, which could be shared on social media with the hashtag #FuelTheFuture. Hard copies of the photos were printed immediately on site.

Nickelodeon – Nick didn’t back down from the Super Bowl this year. The network’s presence included a 30×30 activation on Radio Row, Nick stars such as Kel Mitchell from Good Burger serving as a reporters from Super Bowl Opening Night, a pre-game show (The NFL Super Slime Showdown) hosted by Nick Cannon and an interactive zone inside the NFL Experience.IMG_0017The 40×80 footprint at the NFL Experience celebrated Nickelodeon’s hit shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats, Hey Arnold and Double Dare. The space even included cascading slime flowing throughout. Some athletes and fans had the opportunity to get slimed throughout the week.

Ford – Although it wasn’t the most creative experiential activation, it certainly was one of the most popular. After registering, fans could attempt to kick a field goal between two Ford trucks. If the kick was good, they were immediately awarded with a $50 NFL Shop gift card. Their registration also entered them into a chance to win Super Bowl tickets or season tickets for their favorite NFL team during the 2017 season.IMG_0043

NRG/Reliant – As if they weren’t in the spotlight enough for Super Bowl LI, NRG and Reliant tactfully extended their brands into the streets. At Super Bowl Live, NRG gave fans an opportunity to experience a stunning 3D light show inside a custom built theater. As fans waited in long lines, they could recharge phones on Flip10 power rechargers. Brand ambassadors or NRG “Power Teams” also traveled around locations across Houston to give away the chargers.The brand also participated in a week-long tailgate party nearby NRG Stadium with the Reliant Player’s Lounge where fans could take photos in a model player locker room, enjoy gaming stations and giveaways.