How a Super Bowl Alternative is Helping Brand Marketing

Posted by Alisa Bartash on February 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Washington DC Marketing PlanAnimal Planet’s 10th annual Puppy Bowl brought in more than just millions of animal lovers’ hearts.  This year, the event brought in 30% more revenue than in 2013.  And 2013 produced 19% more revenue than in 2012.

Not only is revenue growing, but viewership of the 2014 game brought in a record 13.5 million viewers, which is the new record high for Super Bowl counter-programming, up from 12.4 million in 2013. 

If you’re not familiar with the Puppy Bowl, it’s Animal Planet’s  family-friendly Super Bowl alternative programming that features 12-18 week old puppies chasing toys (offering a super-cute appeal), a kitty half-time show (they can’t leave out cat lovers!), penguin cheerleaders (just because they’re fun) and a bird communication correspondent (a bird that tweets…get it?) – who has over 34,000 twitter followers!   

What started out as a joke in a meeting back in 2004 is now a record-breaking integrated event that has not only brought in millions of dollars in revenue, but has had a positive impact on the Animal Planet brand. Prior to the 2013 Puppy Bowl, numbers from BrandIndex showed that Animal Planet’s Quality, Recommend and Reputation scores all increased between 2 and 5 points, and its Ad-awareness scores also increased by 2 points, according to Forbes

All of that is interesting, but we are writing about this because of the marketing value it produces.  Not only is Animal Planet breaking records and establishing its own brand through the Puppy Bowl, but it has developed into an effective marketing opportunity.  Advertisers who want a piece of the Super Bowl entertainment pie without the million-dollar price tag, now have an option. The exclusive brand marketing opportunities that the Puppy Bowl offers have been attracting big national names like Chase, Subaru, Bissell and GEICO for multiple years now, with this being Subaru’s fifth year as a sponsor. As part of its sponsorship, Subaru aired four traditional ads along with custom vignettes throughout the game and was the sponsor of the “drive of the day” and “kiss cam” - all part of the car company’s marketing strategy to appeal to its customers’ passion for animals, as Subaru marketing VP Alan Betke explained to AdAge.com.

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Tags: Trends, Branding, Marketing strategy, Super Bowl

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