A Recap of the 2023 Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfront
The Skydeo team attended the 2023 Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfront during the week leading up to the Super Bowl in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a jam packed week featuring some of the best in the marketing and advertising world, with many brands there to represent and showcase their Super Bowl 57 commercials. Skydeo was lucky enough to moderate a fireside chat with Ricardo Marques, VP of Marketing from Michelob Ultra – Anheuser-Busch InBev on Thursday afternoon. You can read more about this chat here. With so many amazing speakers and insights, it’s hard to recap the full week, but here are some of our key moments.
Day 1 started strong with a keynote from Tim Ellis, CMO of the National Football League (NFL), and Artis Stevens, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Then Glenn Cole, Co-Founder & Creative Chair of 72andSunny joined in a fireside chat moderated by Paul Dooley, Head of Marketing Transformation of Amazon Web Services.
Next we heard from Tana Davila, Chief Marketing Officer at CKE Restaurants (Carl’s Jr & Hardee’s) in a fireside chat moderated by Lance Wolder, Head of Strategy & Marketing at PadSquad. Tana talked about her experience at PF Changs and her new role at CKE where her biggest initiative is to market Carls Jr and Hardee’s separately since they have very different target customers.
Andrew Sneyd, EVP Marketing at Fanduel spoke about their “live” Super Bowl commercial featuring retired NFL legend Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski in a chat moderated by Rob DeSalvo, Chief Revenue Officer at Undertone. Those who place a $5 bet or more on whether Gronk could make a 25yd field goal kick would be rewarded with a share of $10 million.
On Day 2 of the BI Upfront we kicked it off with a fireside chat from Charece Williams Gee, Head of Americas Sports Marketing at Under Armour moderated by Ryan Pauley, Chief Revenue Officer at Vox Media. Charece talked about how at Under Armour they like to establish genuine relationships with their partner athletes to make sure they align with the brand values.
In the panel “Anatomy of a Fan: Building Brand Passion” we heard from Fotoulla Damaskos, EVP, Brand Strategy and Innovation from National Research Group, Jennifer Entenman, Managing Director, Global Sponsorships and Inclusive Partnerships at United Airlines, and Sophie Kelly, Sr. Vice President of Whiskeys Portfolio in North America at Diageo. This panel was moderated by Ryan Linder, EVP, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Stagwell. Fotoulla gave an interesting stat: in a survey of 1000 people across the US, 41% said a company’s Super Bowl commercial has potential to influence them to be a fan of the brand.
After lunch we heard from NY Times Best-Selling author, Matthew Berry, NBC Sports Sr. Fantasy and Betting Analyst and Founder of Fantasy Life and Josh Richards, Media Personality / TikTok Influencer & Chairman of CrossCheck Studios in a riveting chat moderated by Chris Detert, COO of Influential about how brands can connect with fans through influencers.
What happens when the world of sports and media collide? Well we found out in a great panel featuring Deron Guidrey, Founder of PlayersTV, Brandon Marshall, Founder of House of Athlete & NFL Legend, David Ortiz, Founder & CEO of Simwin Sports, Adrienne Smith, Founder & CEO of Gridiron Queendom. The panel was moderated by Susan Kilkenny, SVP, Partnerships at Group Black.
Next we took a deep dive into the branding behind the NFL with Adriana Hoang – Director of Performance Media, Taryn Hutt – VP of Club Marketing, Tony Isetta – Head of Content & Creative Marketing, Andy Kauffman – SVP of Marketing Strategy & Science, and Sana Merchant– Director, Club Social, all from The National Football League (NFL). This chat was moderated by Brian Griffin, VP of Brand Solutions at VideoAmp.
The first panel of Day 3 at the Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfront featured Kelvin Beachum, Offensive Tackle on the Arizona Cardinals and Dhani Jones, Former Linebacker representing The National Football League. The chat was moderated by Damaune Journey, Global Chief Growth Officer at 72andSunny. Following that, Ivonne Kinser, Vice President of Marketing & Innovation at Avocados from Mexico (AFM) gave a keynote describing their marketing strategy going into the the Big Game. Their advertising is also taking over Times Square during a Today Show debut.
Skydeo’s CEO Mike Ford then hosted a fireside chat with Ricardo Marques, Vice President of Marketing at Michelob ULTRA, Anheuser-Busch InBev. After passing around some ice cold Michelob ULTRA’s to the crowd, Ricardo shared the behind the scenes of the Caddyshack-inspired Super Bowl commercial and their marketing strategy leading up to the Big Game. For the full spotlight of this chat, check out this blog.
After that we heard from Gabrielle Dallas Wesley, Chief Marketing Officer at Mars Wrigley North America talking about M&M’s new marketing campaign in a chat moderated by Natalia Espejo, Head of Vertical Marketing – North America at Snap Inc. Gabrielle spoke about M&M’s launching an augmented reality filter on Snapchat on Monday after the Big Game, as well as how the 3 female “spokescandies” are ready to #flipthestatusquo. Next was a panel called, “How Brands Show Up in Culture”, featuring Kamal Bhandal, Vice President of Brand & Consumer Marketing at Invisalign, Haley Davison, Sr. Global Product Owner of CRM & Loyalty at Yum Brands, and Paul Pettas, Vice President of Brand & Communications at Sodexo Live! and was moderated by Ryan Detert, Chief Executive Officer, at Influential.
Leslie Miller, Head of Marketing, Nutrition and Ice Cream, at Unilever spoke in a fireside chat moderated by Ben Felix, Chief Marketing Officer, at Stackline. And lastly, the day ended off with a panel featuring Erick Dickens, CEO & Co-Founder of Kadenwood and Carson Palmer, Former NFL Quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, moderated by Julian Ahye, Head of Brand Partnerships at The Athletic.
What an amazing week with great people and insights. Skydeo is so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and participate.
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