Pepsi, Honda, Anheuser-Busch, Amazon and Verizon Are Ramping Up on Snapchat for the Super Bowl

Brands go big on video ads and sponsored lenses

While Amazon pushes its popular show starring Bryan Cranston, the soda giant wants to put you on a virtual Jumbotron.
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Gatorade won a Cannes Lion for its Snapchat sponsored lens with Serena Williams on Super Bowl Sunday in 2016. So, it stood to reason that this year’s Big Game would entail brands buying ads on the app like never before. And if Pepsi, Amazon, Honda, Anheuser-Busch and Verizon are any indication, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Most of those marketers are also investing in ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But here’s one way Snapchat promos differ from ads on competing platforms: Pepsi aims to virtually put folks on the field during the game and on the jumbo screen during Lady Gaga’s halftime show via a sponsored lens.

“It puts the fan at the center of the show,” said Stacy Taffet, senior director of marketing for Pepsi. “It’s another way to generate excitement on the day of the Super Bowl.”

To further encourage buzz, Taffet and her team have bought Snap Ads—Snapchat’s full-screen video promos—that will run all day on Sunday on the app’s NFL Discover channel. Pepsi will have a 10-second TV commercial right before its branded halftime show on Fox, while it also runs ads on top social-media channels.

“Most of [the larger digital campaign] will be video,” Taffet said. “A goal for us is to be a big part of the conversation on Super Bowl Sunday. Last year, we had a similar strategy, and we had one of the highest shares of voice. We are aiming to do that again.”

Adweek has learned Amazon is running Snap Ads for its Sneaky Pete show, which stars Bryan Cranston. And Honda is running 10-second spots on the app and has purchased one of two exclusive sponsorships of Snapchat’s national, game-day filter. (The other brand has not been disclosed.)

“We’ve built several filters that will sequence throughout the day, tied to the game-day experience, the car and the campaign,” said Alicia Jones, Honda’s social media manager. “These allow us to thoughtfully integrate our brand campaign with the natural active sharing taking place during the game.”

Honda will be also be sending off a series of real-time organic Snapchat messages during the game.

Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch is running an interactive Snap Ad game for Super Bowl LI, while Verizon has bought into the platform’s 10-second spots, which can be extended when its mostly college-age users swipe up. 

Whether any of these marketers can match PepsiCo-owned Gatorade’s success from last year, when the brand topped 160 million impressions with its “dunk” lens, will be worth watching.

“It’s about engagement for Snapchat with a very attractive set of consumers in that younger, 18- to 24-year-old range,” said Pepsi’s Taffet. “Because of the lens—and even the swiping nature of the Snap Ads—it’s [generally] a very interactive experience.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.