TurboTax Partners With Roku on Super Bowl Activation on Top of Its In-Game Spot

Why the brand goes big for the sports event of the year

The news comes just two days after the software brand released the teaser for its slightly disturbing Super Bowl spot featuring a robot child. TurboTax
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TurboTax is preparing for the Super Bowl with a sponsorship series on OTT service Roku, culminating in home screen activations kicking off the Big Game this weekend.

Starting today, TurboTax is sponsoring a “Where to Watch” guide that will appear on Roku’s home screen of the streaming service, which will showcase channels where streamers can watch the game live on Sunday. The activations prompt users to prepare their tax returns as the filing deadline nears.

“This [is] the first time we partnered with a brand to put a mini-ad on our homescreen,” said Scott Rosenberg, general manager, platform business, Roku. “Roku’s unique platform allows TurboTax to reach a large number of viewers leading up to the biggest streaming event of the year by providing relevant content to gear up for it—and places to watch for free.”

The news comes almost a month after TurboTax announced its return to the Big Game for the sixth consecutive year, and just two days after it released the teaser for its slightly disturbing Super Bowl spot featuring a robot child. Its parent company, Intuit, is investing in the National Football League as its official sponsor for financial and accounting software, as well as tax preparation services.

Sponsorship on the streaming service poses a unique opportunity to engage those who won’t be watching The New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, say TurboTax’s media strategists. Sam Bloom—general manager, interactive, Camelot Communications, who works with TurboTax on its communications strategy—told Adweek that the Super Bowl correlates with key dates in TurboTax’s calendar year as tax season steadily approaches.

“[B]y the end of January, companies have to have their W2s filed,” he pointed out. “… This is an important time when people file taxes, and it happens to be timed with the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the biggest event of the [sporting] year, and tax refunds are the biggest financial event that most people are going to have throughout the year.”

A TurboTax spokesperson declined to comment on its media spend, although the company was reported to be the largest spender on Super Bowl air time last year at an estimated $19.9 million spent on working media.

The Roku sponsorship allows for some intricate audience targeting, Bloom explained. “What distinguishes Roku from others [content providers] is that they have a logged-in user base, so there’s a lot of clever things you can do from a data perspective,” he said.

He also added that the sponsorship allows the software brand to “know we’re going to be able to reach people watching the Big Game, and we know we’re going to be able to reach people not watching the Big Game.”

“When you think about one of the challenges with the investments for this weekend there’s still a healthy volume of people that won’t be watching the game,” he continued. “So, with so many brands spending so much money, then why not capitalize on that [targeting capability] and make it a water cooler moment for everybody?”

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@ronan_shields ronan.shields@adweek.com Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.