Honestly. Super Bowl ads now run up to $5.6 million for a 30-second spot.
Adweek reports that Fox Sports sold out of inventory for advertising’s biggest day back in November, netting a record-breaking $400 million.
Who dished out the cash? There were snacks like Snickers and Cheetos, big-name beers (Anheuser-Busch was the big spender at $41 million) and food that starts with a “P”: Pringles, Planters Peanuts, Pop-Tarts Pretzel and Pepsi (a $31 million spend). Plus Porsche and Hummer, Trump and Bloomberg, Facebook, Google and Amazon Alexa.
But destinations? Not so much. Until…
The Unexpected Opportunity
Look how tiny Winona, MN (population 27,000) scored for the win without the big bucks. A priceless opportunity, except that, “The portrayal of Winona wasn’t exactly helpful to us in a tourism sense,” writes Visit Winona.
The 30-second Squarespace ad featured native Winona Ryder building a webpage about herself and her namesake city, turning that into a (real-life) limited edition autographed photobook to benefit American Indian College Fund.
Filmed just last month, there are artistic, gritty snapshots but none of the city’s beautiful landmarks. “As art, it is a compelling display. As a marketing tool, not so much,” said the DMO.
So, how to grab onto the coattails, add to the narrative in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that demonstrates gratitude for the exposure while generating a more positive perspective of the town?
Act fast. Super Bowl digital assets for the Squarespace ad were released last Tuesday morning and by Thursday, Visit Winona had its strategy and response in play.
Visit Winona also spearheaded its own photobook, inviting social media followers to post true Winona #WelcometoWinona shots, some of which will be featured in a book released later this month with proceeds donated to community initiatives.
“Winona Ryder is a beloved figure in Winona and we appreciate being part of her story,” said Pat Mutter, executive director of Visit Winona. “The beauty of this campaign is that everyone will have their own version of what True Winona is, and we are looking forward to sharing those with the world too.”
Related: Visit Winona is featured in “Desperately Seeking Vermonters” in DMO Storytelling: Five Clever New Campaigns Tackle the Off-Season in The Travel Vertical.