Partner Marketing: What Can We Learn From The Super Bowl?

Partner marketing has certainly been growing in recent years. Brands are no longer an island unto themselves. Companies, from retail brands to software companies to healthcare providers, understand the importance of sharing a message with other companies. Here, we’ll take a look at lessons learned from this year’s Super Bowl.

First: What is partner marketing?

Partner marketing (or “partnership marketing”) is when two companies collaborate in a marketing effort because they have a shared audience. You likely won’t see direct competitors like Nike and Adidas teaming up. However, you might see Nike team up with the NFL. They have a shared audience. Nike wants you to wear their shoes, and the NFL wants you to watch their games on Sunday. Together they can promote their own causes but in a shared message. Let’s now look at some of the ads from this year’s Super Bowl.

What the Super Bowl taught us

No one likes it when you just talk about yourself. So a lot of brands shared the spotlight this year during the Super Bowl in different ways.

Walmart and Disney

Walmart is no stranger to partner marketing. As a major brand that sells major brand, they often highlight the products they carry. This year was no different. They teamed up with Disney and Pixar to use characters from classic fantasy sci-fi movies as a framing device for their story. We get to see the aliens from Mars Attacks! and everyone’s favorite pug from Men in Black, not to mention a cameo from two famous Star Wars robots. This collaboration works for both parties: Walmart gets to tell people about their grocery pickup service and Disney is reminding you that all of these movies are available at Walmart.

Pringles and Rick and Morty

The popular cartoon Rick and Morty is coming back for another season in 2020. And probably every fan was reminded of this when they saw their beloved characters “trapped in a Pringles ad” that’s encouraging everyone to stack different Pringles flavors in a single bite. This partnership works for both brands: Pringles gets to associate themselves with a hip commodity, and Rick and Morty got to put their characters in front of a new audience.

WeatherTech and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

This was one of the ads that made everyone tear up. Instead of promoting their services, WeatherTech let everyone know how they could donate to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They drew on their history from their last Super Bowl ad, that featured their mascot, Scout. In the last year, Scout was diagnosed with cancer but helped by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Not only does this shed light on this amazing veterinary program and give everyone the feeling that they can participate in change, but it makes WeatherTech more memorable. After all, the next time you need custom-fit car mats or other products for your vehicle, who are you going to go to? Probably the company that cares as much about your furry friends riding shotgun as you do.

How can you use partner marketing?

While you might not have a Super Bowl-level ad budget, you can leverage partner marketing just like the big brands. But you’re going to have to be a little more creative. Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a webinar with a friend in your industry. Example: If you provide a Software as a Service and another brand is a security partner, team up to talk about your integration!
  • Give trade show presentations with one of your clients (particularly if you’re in the B2B space). Whatever you have to say will make a bigger impact when you can hand the microphone over to another company that’s using your product.
  • Don’t just promote yourself on social media! Give shout outs to local businesses in your area, clients, and those in your space you don’t compete with. Don’t make it all about you.

These are just a few ideas. Contact us today so we can start talking about your partner marketing strategy.

And if you can’t get enough Super Bowl ads, check out a full list here from AdAge.

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