Partnering with the NFL offers companies a chance to grow brand equity with fans by activating during tentpole events throughout the year – with no event on the NFL calendar being bigger than the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Lowe’s will be one of those partnering brands rolling out pre-planned marketing strategies ahead of the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
The retailer became the official home improvement sponsor of the NFL in January 2019, leaving little time for Lowe’s to prepare for a Super Bowl LIII debut in Atlanta last year, according to Adam Jacobs, Lowe’s director of sports marketing.
“The biggest difference this year is time,” Jacobs said. “This will be a continuation of what we have done with the NFL partnership already. We find that key NFL events all year are watched in fans’ homes, and that’s a place we do very well.”
Lowe’s is going bigger this year, compared to the efforts put last season that primarily focused on spreading the word of its new NFL agreement through in-stadium signage at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
There will be more of that this go around too, Jacobs said. However, the main focus this year is on Lowe’s “Bring It Home” campaign – aimed at encouraging fans to purchase new appliances, grills, and other essentials needed for fans to host NFL viewing parties themselves.
Lowe’s is building 32 dwellings – one for each NFL team – that will be on display at the Miami Beach Convention Center during Super Bowl week as part of this strategy. Each dwelling has team-specific activities for fans to interact with, relating to either the franchise itself or the city the team represents.
The miniature homes were made using more than six tons of lumber, 200 gallons of paint, and each stand 8-feet tall, according to the company. All individual dwellings additionally weigh up to 500 pounds and will be transported from the retailer’s home state of North Carolina to Miami this week.
“The goal is to deepen our connection with fans, but also to have visitors share that content with those who won’t be in attendance in Miami on social media,” Jacobs said.
Lowe’s’ digital, linear TV, and social media plans on Super Bowl Sunday will help spread the brand message portrayed by its “Bring It Home” campaign, he added. Lowe’s will also take part in community repair projects in Miami alongside NFL players, such as Miami Hurricanes alum and current Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore.
“The NFL has been an outstanding platform for us, and has been a key element in the evolution of our marketing strategy,” Jacobs said. “We announced exactly one year ago this month, and have come out of the gates running.”
Lowe’s sports local team deals with eight franchises, including the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, and Miami Dolphins. But the brand’s broader NFL agreement was viewed by analysts as a way for it to potentially dethrone long-time market rival Home Depot, which is synonymous with ESPN’s College Gameday.
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Lowe’s itself has been an official sponsor of the NCAA since 2012 but has struggled to surpass its chief competitor in overall sales in recent years. Home Depot raked in $27.2 billion in total sales in its last reported quarter compared to Lowe’s’ $17.3 billion.
Both brands have averaged between 3% and 4% U.S. comparable store sales growth over the last four quarters. However, the first quarter of 2019 – the period when Lowe’s announced its new NFL deal – marked the best same-store sales output by the brand last year at 4.2%.
Lowe’s is scheduled to report its 2019 fourth-quarter earnings on February 26.