Getting a first-hand look at the one-on-one engagement brands enjoyed with NFL fans at Super LI in Houston reminded me of my days at Momentum Worldwide working on the U.S. Army account and others. A truism that hasn’t changed since that time: brands’ ability to carefully engage with fans and consumers in an inviting and playful fashion is key.

As I sampled the NFL Live and NFL Experience display areas and took in everything from the Ford and Hyundai football-themed displays to the Skittles oversized helmets, it was clear to me that fans absolutely connected with the excitement of the Super Bowl through the media outlets and NFL partners who were on-site to display their passion for (and relationship with) America’s game.

Unlike in the retail environment, NFL partners were able to showcase their products and services utilizing football and the Super Bowl as the hook, and fans both young and old were obviously engaged and happy to be a part of this community celebration.  NFL partners like Bridgestone, Verizon and others did especially well at providing engaging displays with social tie-ins. The excitement surrounding these activations, and the passion NFL fans feel about their teams and the sport in general, emphasized just how important and impactful sports marketing platforms can be as part of a brand’s overall marketing mix.