By Sarah Hill, Content Strategist at Old Dominion University

Get your Brand in a Super Bowl Ad (and Score Big Doing It)

Historical tourism just isn’t what it used to be, so when Executive Director of Marketing Andrea Sardone and the rest of the Colonial Williamsburg marketing team got the chance to put together an ad for the Big Game in 2016, they knew it would have to make a splash.

“The market and demand has dramatically shifted. The demand is still there, it’s just smaller and it’s competing with a lot of other things to do,” Sardone said. If you grew up in Virginia, you’ve likely visited the hallowed halls of Williamsburg on a family vacation as a kid, but in 2017 historical tourism is seen more as an “eat your spinach vacation,” competing with ever-escalating thrill rides, water parks, and even smart phones sucking up the summertime. But Colonial Williamsburg still offers a lot of great family fun. They just had to get in front of a large audience and tell them that, and what better way than the Holy Grail of ad spots?

“It was always our dream to have a Super Bowl spot,” mused Sardone.  “I couldn’t imagine it, but we did it!” Her team worked together to come up with a video spot that was provocative enough that the news wave would carry it through coverage and replays, and hopefully would resonate on social media as well.They picked the top three markets for their audience, then crossed their fingers and watched the game.

And boy did it resonate.  

Sardone described the theme of the ad as, “This is where it started, the American idea and dream. It started here in Colonial Williamsburg.” It featured scenes from American history, including a controversial image from the 9/11 attacks. All it took was a tweet from a celebrity commenting on the ad, and the next morning Sardone’s team was inundated with feedback of all kinds and national news coverage.  

We all want to make a splash like that. Join Andrea Sardone and theAMA Hampton Roads for a Lunch Break on the Peninsula to discuss this amazing marketing experience. Ask questions, network, and go back to your office with a new idea.

At this luncheon, you will learn:

• How Colonial Williamsburg’s Super Bowl Ad came together

• How a nonprofit handled national attention and controversy

• The power of Social Media when it comes to the next generation of commercials

• The good, the bad, and the ugly of the experience (and what the marketing team at Colonial Williamsburg would change, looking back.

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