There’s no telling how long tonight’s Super Bowl is going to last, but Buffalo Wild Wings is taking credit for if it goes longer than expected.
For its 30-second pregame ad, the restaurant teamed up with Brett Favre, placing the Hall of Fame quarterback in an alternate universe, one in which he’s forever doomed to analyze why he let so many interceptions happen in his career. The spot shows the former Packers star throwing footballs at scarecrows, trying to make sense of the impossible, until a pair of Twilight Zone-type men show up to explain why unseen hot wings were working against him. (There’s also an extended 90-second spot on YouTube.)
The idea came from a campaign from a few years ago, which played on the idea that the chain was messing with the outcomes of sporting events to keep fans and foodies eating—and paying—longer. Last year, more than 12,000 social interactions included fans questioning Buffalo Wild Wings for its role in sending games into overtime or making them more exciting than they at first appeared. And over the last four years, 12 million people have asked Buffalo Wild Wings to change the outcome of various games.
“We really felt that with Brett’s career that he had and the fact that he was this gun slinger but who had the record for interceptions, we thought who better to start questioning, now that he’s retired, whether he was responsible for all those interceptions,” said Bob Ruhland, Buffalo Wild Wings’ vp of marketing.
To go along with the spot, Buffalo Wild Wings and Space150 shot a 360-degree video for YouTube, which places viewers inside of Favre’s room in a barn, where he has a “conspiracy wall” for obsessing over every pass and every cause to understand what in the past had gone wrong. But while many brands’ 360 videos have maintained a single narrative, Space150 forgo any focus, leaving viewers to explore the environment like they would if they were actually there.
To allow for ample exploring time, the agency also extended the video for two minutes, which Space150 CEO Billy Jurewicz said was designed to make it more about engagement over a longer period of time than a quick glance.
“I think it was designed as an experience that was meant to be shared more than once,” Jurewicz said. “So if somebody is meant to come back and look at it again, or maybe they are looking at the front wall and head something behind them, that they go back and then turn around and look at what that was. Or look to the left or the right or up or now. And that’s kind of the new model of doing these things.”
This isn’t the first time Space150 and Buffalo Wild Wings have shot something in 360. Last year, they did a video of Patriots tight tend Rob Grownkowski competing in the “Blazing Challenge” with a firefighter.
“It really opens up a whole new canvas to this type of entertainment,” Jurewicz said. “Doing it once, learning lessons, doing it twice, learnings lessons—like anything, you’ve got to be good and experienced at this. You have to try and do things that pushes boundaries.”
Buffalo Wild Wings is also expanding its reach into Snapchat. Although the brand doesn’t have its own channel, it’s created branded geofilters for 1,200 of its restaurants across the U.S., providing yet another way for fans to engage in a way they hadn’t before.
According to Buffalo Wild Wings, the use of filters has been high. Since they debuted on Jan. 22, Buffalo Wild Wings’ geofilters have been used 115,439 times and have received more than 5.7 million views. Engagement overall for the brand has continued to grow.
“This just might be one of those areas where you just have to be there because of the millennials and the kind of interaction they want to have because it’s shareable,” Ruhland said. “This is one of those things when you talk about a holistic approach, you have to have Snapchat there, and you have to think about it. But as far as being able to look at an ROI on that, that’s a little bit tougher for us.”
According to Jurewicz, Snapchat is getting easier for brands, which could make it easier for Buffalo Wild Wings to do something more expansive in the future while still maintaining control.
“It’s better for campaigns like this one, specifically when you have so much going on with the conspiracy and Brett Favre and how we see it and how we control that is very sensitive to us,” he said. “And we’re not just going to let anything be published out there on a medium we can’t edit specifically.”