Events Based Storytelling

At MPRM Communications, we are privileged to work with some amazing storytellers, from independent filmmakers to entrepreneurs who set out to change the world. But just like the proverbial shoemaker’s children who go without shoes, they often need help in crafting their own stories. Because it is our business, we are also keen observers of other practitioners of the art of storytelling, whether in service of an issue, business, promotion or simply to entertain. What we plan to undertake here is a weekly look at the different ways storytelling can be used from transporting audiences to motivating change to building a business or creating awareness.

There is nothing like a major event or holiday to start creative marketing juices flowing, which is why Super Bowl Sunday is about so much more than football. While Super Bowl LV will be different because of COVID-19, with reduced crowds in the stadium, very few public parties and much smaller ones at home, it remains a major event.

For sports fans, the big story is the quarterback showdown between Tom Brady, who is going for his seventh Super Bowl trophy, and Patrick Mahomes, hoping to defend last year’s victory. But food, commercials and the halftime show are why so many non-football fans tune-in as well. While the impetus to watch in order to sound intelligent around the proverbial watercooler at work on Monday is no longer there, Super Bowl LV will remain a shared national experience.

The Today Show did a bracket to determine America’s favorite Super Bowl snack, which nachos won; restaurants are promoting Super Bowl takeout packages, which interestingly are still designed for large groups; food blogs and newspaper food columns are offering novel takes on nachos, chicken wings and dips, so everyone should have more than enough to eat while watching the game.

The commercial line-up will continue to feature celebrities like Dolly Parton, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Kimmel, Mindy Kaling and Jason Alexander humorously touting products from Hellmanns and Doritos to Tide. But some traditional Super Bowl advertisers won’t be participating this year. The much beloved Budweiser Clydesdales won’t be making an appearance. Instead the ad spend will be used to fund vaccine awareness. With no films scheduled for theatrical release in the near future, the big trailer debuts setting up summer blockbusters will also be absent. Nonetheless, we’ll still be debating the best and worst of the ads by game end since the ad time is completely sold out.

The Weeknd takes over from J. Lo and Shakira for this year’s halftime show, which may have a very different look given the sparse stadium crowd and need for social distancing. And in what is probably a Super Bowl first, the first National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman will perform a poem before the opening game toss. How ironic that J. Lo followed her Super Bowl experience with “America the Beautiful” at the inauguration, and now Amanda does the reverse.

Despite a pandemic, events and holidays still create great opportunities for generating brand awareness to reach targeted audiences, become part of a trend story, sponsor relevant events or develop memorable stunts. Special months like Black History, Women’s History and Pride are not just publicity and marketing opportunities for brands; they also serve to call attention to important issues, underserved communities, raise funds and celebrate major achievements.

This weekend not only marks Super Bowl LV but the start of Heart Month. Next up is Valentine’s Day!