A Rulebook for Reaching the New Mainstream: Super Bowl Edition

TelevisaUnivision’s broadcast provided new lessons for mainstage moments when speaking to the Latinx audience

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Super Bowl LVIII, a new main stage filled with new stories: Las Vegas. The Sphere. The 58th Big Game. $10k tickets. Tay/Trav. Oh yes, 49ers/Chiefs. Knowing the overtime rules.

And one more. The thrill of the first time.

Sunday saw one of the most important firsts not only for the Super Bowl, but for all mainstage cultural moments. The first time a wholly independent Spanish language broadcast took to the air alongside the OG English language show. We’ve seen Super Bowls in Spanish before, but this one was different. TelevisaUnivision was bigger and broader and even improved the original in many ways, including greater gender representation among on-screen talent. So, it’s worth looking at some lessons.

This broadcast is only one example of the impact the New Mainstream is having on pop culture and marketing. The New Mainstream is not a niche audience, but a new way of looking at all 330 million of us. More diverse and more multicultural than ever before, we have a strong point of view on the world around us and are actively engaged in the brands we support.

So this first time is that—a main stage moment that’s more open to all than ever before. This means a new rulebook for mainstage moments full of new lessons and new habits to set up marketers for both creative and business success.

Here are a few learnings and takeaways from the Big Game broadcast on TelevisaUnivision.

Speak to the new mainstream, not just a new market

Going forward, all mainstage moments will be multilingual and multicultural moments. This was one of the first, but it surely won’t be the last.

A brand will win by focusing on telling its story to the new mainstream, not a generic whole. We’ve entered a new era where the former minorities are the majority.

Along with the lessons for advertisers, U.S. news publications must also cover these main stages with the same energy as they do the English-language Super Bowl. So all Big Marketing Moments must speak to all as they want to be spoken to, not as a part of a generic whole.

Experiment to find the right flavor of bravery

Stepping onto a transformed stage makes every day like a first pancake. It may not come out perfectly, but we shouldn’t fear stepping in.

In the immortal words of William Goldman, “Nobody knows anything.” You don’t know what’s going to work until you do it. The first pancake you make might not look pretty, but it’s just as delicious. So do it, measure and try again. The only thing worse than failing with the New Mainstream is not trying to win with the New Mainstream.

Kudos to the brands who just stepped in and tried something new with a distinct take on culture and language. I’m biased, but I love Verizon celebrating the Big Game with both Beyoncé on CBS and our ad with J Balvin on Univision. One theme with two very different manifestations. Also, we enjoyed helping Volkswagen take its spot in both broadcasts and more.

Big Game voices must be relearned

Many brands have had years to learn their Big Game Voice (characters? jokes? cute animals?) but often, that voice has been in the English language. It takes time to learn a new language, more so when you’re searching for that epic voice for a big stage.

To those brands who just ran their English language spots on Univision, a big thank you for showing up to the party. Next and now is the time for you to find a new voice as well. Keep pushing.

Find unfair fights to win

Finding the right voice with the right audience is how brands should invest wisely. Find the unfair fights you can win.

Maybe your brand has sufficient resources to build a platform that reaches all audiences. Great. Do that and win. Maybe your brand only has limited resources. Great. Focus on key audiences at the point of cultural breakthrough to lead growth.

It could be a Spanish-language broadcast or a niche creator community. The old model asked for broad reach. The key to victory today, more than ever before, is finding communities to focus on and understanding how to build deep empathy with them.

These days there’s more than one Big Game

We’ve entered a new era where the Super Bowl is not the only big game in town. This Super Bowl (it only took us LXVII times) is just the beginning of a new series of more diverse main stages that brands will have to pay attention to. Copa America 2024 will be massive. And the World Cup is not too long after that.

You can find a main stage anywhere these days, so don’t just stick to the old marketing calendar. Spread your wings.

Ask yourself—how are you, your agency or your brand going to get ready for the next “Big Game?” To lead the next? The New Mainstream is here, changing expectations of brands and marketing. The challenge, and the opportunity, is for us to be inventive, lead and create something new.