What happens in Vegas, stays on social media—thanks to BravoCon’s new, expanded partnerships for 2023.
With BravoCon’s move to Las Vegas for its Nov. 3-Nov. 5 event at Caesar’s Forum, NBCUniversal will bring in 20 expanded and interactive brand sponsorships and three times as many commercial-led activations, according to the company.
“Brands are absolutely a fabric of the weekend in the storytelling,” Mark Marshall, NBCUniversal’s chairman of ad sales, told Adweek. “When we look back at last BravoCon, you look at all the passion that everyone has for all the Bravolebrities, but also one of the longest lines you had was Jake from State Farm.”
Whether fawning over Real Housewives or Jake from State Farm’s Discount Double Checks, fans will have plenty of opportunities. NBCUniversal told Adweek that around 165 Bravolebrities will attend, and the weekend includes more than 60 live events, with partners accessing NBCU’s One Platform to connect with attendees, expected to reach 30,000 strong.
And for those who can’t attend, on-ground activations will come to life digitally through social channels, Peacock and bravotv.com.
“It’s not just about the 30,000 people that are there. It’s the voyeurism of people wanting to know what’s going on even if they aren’t there,” Marshall said. “What we’re doing socially, as well as on the digital side with Peacock, where we’re going to have our own pregame daily show, so it almost starts to feel like your NFL day.”
Fans in-person and online can also enjoy various shoppable experiences, including the Bravo Bazaar, which features products from Bravo talent-owned brands and emerging businesses, and a new BravoConShoppable Microsite, where brands such as Nexxus can be accessed through QR codes both at the booths and across social, digital, linear and streaming.
Marshall told Adweek that BravoCon had “heavy retention” among partners, with each returning brand expanding its presence, including presenting sponsors State Farm and Lay’s.
State Farm is bringing attendees to the Hamptons with its activation, letting fans create friendship bracelets and captured Instagrammable moments with Summer House-inspired props. The brand is also involved with The BravoCon Morning Show, a daily livestream via Bravo’s TikTok handle, and The Best of BravoCon Recap Show, which streams on Peacock in the days following the event, with special appearances by Bravo talent and even, yes, State Farm’s aforementioned Jake.
Meanwhile, Lay’s is capitalizing on Scandoval, the ever-popular reality TV scandal from Vanderpump Rules (which you can read about here), by bringing in Ariana Madix, along with Katie Maloney, to showcase their sandwich shop, Something About Her. Attendees can enjoy Lay’s-infused food and cocktail recipes, talent appearances and the chance to try an exclusive Lay’s potato chip flavor inspired by Something About Her.
“People want to feel like they’re getting a sneak peek behind the curtain, so the idea that we’re creating a tomato soup and grilled cheese chip that is being launched here goes along with the tone of BravoCon and this idea of being able to look into other people’s lives,” Marshall said. “In this case, you get to look into a restaurant that’s going to pop up that people have been hearing about for multiple seasons.”
Madix previously teased her BravoCon involvement at NBCU’s 2023 TV upfront event. And the list of sponsors just continues.
Saying ‘Bravo!’ to brands
Amazon Freevee will let fans connect with Bravo franchises through scannable onsite QR codes at the Bravoland Museum, Carnival will dock in Las Vegas to deliver cocktails, DoorDash is delivering fans an ultimate Bravopalooza experience, Hilton is giving VIP ticketholders a VIP lounge while Wayfair is bringing the Real Housewives to life with custom-built, interactive areas, including using AR technology to let attendees record their own Housewives tagline.
Beauty brands Juvederm Collection of Fillers, Shark Beauty and Ulta Beauty will all have a presence. Studs is providing a Studs on Wheels trailer for “Earscaping,” and Yoplait is bringing sponsored panels and giveaways.
According to Marshall, NBCUniversal considered everything about the weekend, even down to the restrooms, with Clorox coming in to handle the … messy moments.
“We’ve joked that the only downside anyone can think about for the last BravoCon at the Javits Center were the bathrooms maybe weren’t up to par,” Marshall said. “We’re going into this beautiful new complex with beautiful bathrooms, and Clorox will be part of the brand there. People who are returning are absolutely going to get that joke.”
And since Bravolebrities constantly have beef, Wendy’s is on hand to help everyone chill out.
“They have a tonality that fits perfectly within the show, so the idea of actually having Frosties being delivered daily that are going to show up,” Marshall said. “You know how much fans like free stuff, but I give a lot of credit to Wendy’s. They’ve worked closely, hand-in-hand to make sure we’re giving the fans something unique.”
The brand will also double down on “beefing” during a special episode of BravoCon Live! With Andy Cohen.
Viva Las Vegas
For Marshall, the weekend is all about Bravo fans and brands coming together.
“You know you’ve struck a cultural chord when you’ve outgrown the Javits Center in New York to take this show on the road to one of the bigger spaces in the world in Las Vegas,” Marshall said. “There’s people from all 50 states as well as internationally who will be coming to this, so while the event’s in Vegas, really the fandom is what’s drawing people from every part of the country and around the world.”
And regarding future venues, fans will have to watch what happens—Marshall said it’s still too “early to tell” where future events will take place.
“I think the nice part is we feel like we could put into just about any town and fans would show up for that,” Marshall said. “We’re excited for it to get going.”