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Latest NFL Ad Insights: Measuring Sponsorship Effectiveness (Nov 9)

November 9, 2020

Many advertisers partner with sports leagues, teams, musicians, performers, and events to connect with consumers. Sometimes there’s an inherent connection between the environment and the brand, other times the connection gets created. In the end, the goal is to have a unique connection that helps position the advertiser for growth and positive brand associations.

Sponsorship alone may not be sufficient to break through and connect with consumers. Some brands fail to embrace the contextual environment of the sponsorship. Others lose their identity within the sponsorship, failing to carve out a clear role for their brand. Both limit the partnership benefits sponsorships can offer.

Based on our years of sponsorship and advertising research, we have found that successful partnerships bring together assets from both the brand and the environment coupled with creative best practices.

Pair Sponsorships with Creative Best Practices

Our research shows that when a brand utilizes sponsorship and creative best practices within its advertising, its ads garner higher Brand Memorability than brands that do not sponsor within the NFL. Brands with a sponsorship asset tended to garner 8% higher Brand Memorability in NFL games, with vast differences – some 70% higher scores and others almost 50% lower results.

However, while viewers tend to remember and like ads that pair sponsorship assets with creative best practices, sponsorship assets alone will not necessarily break through the clutter. Subway’s “Watt Family Shed” ad scored 53% higher in Ad Memorability than the average ad in the NFL.

Benefiting from familiar NFL players, a funny and unique story, and the Subway brand at the punchline, Subway’s ad drove the highest Ad Memorability of any NFL-themed ad. Frito-Lay’s “NFL Nursery Rhyme” ad, which highlighted NFL players enjoying chips in a quirky bedtime story, set itself apart by garnering the highest appeal of all ads within NFL games (169% higher than the average ad in the NFL.)

Maintain Your Brand Identity

While it is important to pair sponsorships with your advertising, be careful not to let the sponsorship overshadow your brand. State Farm currently has 50% higher Brand Memorability than the average brand in the NFL, mostly due to their expert mix of brand cues and sponsorship. By leveraging its well-established brand spokesperson, Jake, alongside NFL players Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, combined with humor, smart use of brand cues, and clever messaging, State Farm continues to rank among the top ads so far this NFL season.

Own the Space

The best way to increase brand association is to combine ads and brand integrations. Beyond a strong presence through both brand integrations and standard ads, Subway leveraged NFL talent, strategically positioned ads adjacent to those integrations, and created a connection with its “Footlong Season” campaign, enabling the brand to resonate with viewers. Their Brand Linkage was 27% higher than the average brand in the NFL due to their variety of in-game partnerships, including presenting the Monday Night Countdown and Footlong Shuffle. Benefiting from synergy with both the environment and its large presence in the games, Subway ads were some of the easiest ads to connect back to the brand.

For details and more information, download the full report NFL Sponsorships: Tackling Measurement.


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