Learn how the creator economy is transforming the marketing landscape, and how to cultivate partnerships to grow engaged communities at Social Media Week: The Creatorverse, May 16–18 in NY. Register now to secure your early bird pass.
FanDuel is placing a bet on the Super Bowl. The sportsbook is making its Big Game debut with an ad campaign that will run across the playoffs and culminate with a live spot set to air in the third quarter of the Super Bowl.
Titled “Kick of Destiny,” the campaign was executed with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy New York and stars retired Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski. The former pro bowl tight end was known for his mitts, which pulled in 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns throughout his career.
However, Gronkowski will have to prove he can dominate on the gridiron with his feet. He will attempt to kick a 25-yard field goal live during a third quarter commercial break in the big game. If he’s able to convert, fans who make a Super Bowl bet on FanDuel’s Sportsbook will win a share of the sportsbook’s $10 million pot.
Kicking off the campaign is a first spot released today titled “Agent.” After the first spot, two ads titled “Training” and “Media” will launch on Jan. 16 and 30 respectively.
“We always want to be able to do the right thing to build the brand for the long-term and we need sales every single day,” executive vice president of marketing at FanDuel Andrew Sneyd, told Adweek. “That’s usually a really tough thing to make work in one campaign idea and this does it.”
The spot sees Gronkowski working on a car when he receives a call from his agent about the live kick. A stunned Gronkowski has little time to prepare. Before the ad’s close, he mentions a need to call four-time Super Bowl champion kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Going live for the Big Game
Snickers released the first live Super Bowl ad in 2017. The BBDO-created spot saw actor Adam Driver star in a Wild West scene where everything goes wrong because of hunger. Sneyd said there is one key distinction between both ads. FanDuel itself won’t know the outcome until the live spot runs.
In last year’s Super Bowl, FanDuel aired pregame spots but stayed out of the Big Game while competitors DraftKings and Caesars, ran ads. FanDuel decided now is the right time to make a Super Bowl debut thanks to this year’s game taking place in Arizona, a state that has legalized sports book wagering.
“We briefed Wieden with the most ambitious brief I’ve ever given anyone, which was I don’t want to make an ad,” Sneyd said. “This is our first Super Bowl ad … If we showed up with an ad that was more traditional, it wouldn’t reflect who we are.”
Sneyd said Wieden+Kennedy New York solved a “space time continuum issue” by creating a campaign that runs through the playoffs and leads into the Super Bowl spot rather than a lone Super Bowl ad that airs in-game and doesn’t drive up awareness for consumers to place bets for the actual Super Bowl game.
The idea of building a story for an ad that stretches several weeks also seems to be a growing theme. Fabric softener brand Downy is having consumers guess a mystery celebrity appearing in their Super Bowl ad for two months leading up to the Big Game.
“People love stories and following a narrative,” Wieden+Kennedy New York creative director Gerard Caputo said. “Being able to bring people along on this campaign and not just having it hinge on the Super Bowl, it’s really about taking the equity that you’re putting in Super Bowl, spreading it out and leveraging it for something bigger than just that moment.”
Gronkowski will kick the field goal at a remote site in Phoenix since he will be present at the Super Bowl as a Fox Sports on-air analyst for the Big Game.
The ad will be Gronkowski’s official Super Bowl commercial debut after his first Big Game spot for T-Mobile with Tom Brady was banned because of a “protected rights deal” in 2021.
“Rob is perfect for this in a sense,” Caputo said. “That was one of the main things, finding someone who’s going to be a very active and willing participant knowing what’s at stake and the stage it’s on.”