You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

These 5 Brands Had Super Bowl Parties that Cost Almost as Much as Buying a 30-Second Commercial During the Big Game We went to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend to see what the big brands were up to — and it did not disappoint.

By Emily Rella

Key Takeaways

  • Super Bowl commercials have always been the pinnacle of advertising for brands, with primetime spots costing an average of $7 million for 30 seconds of screen time.
  • But this year, some big brands spent almost as much on the parties.
entrepreneur daily
Medium Rare
Gronk Beach

Brands looking to make a splash at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas turned the weekend into a larger-than-life three days filled with parties and pure chaos.

The marketing started the moment travelers stepped off the plane at Harry Reid International Airport, as they were greeted by the Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee handing out pins, stickers, mini footballs, and loud cheers as guests arrived at baggage claim.

Entrepreneur attended Taco Bell's Live Más Live event to see what brands were up to for the Super Bowl festivities. While it was clear from the get-go that it would be a weekend of over-the-top branding ploys, the grandiose displays might have just changed the Super Bowl experience forever.

It's estimated that over 500,000 visitors came to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, and brands were eager to get their merch in the hands of social media-sharing fans.

Related: Record-Breaking Super Bowl LVIII Was the Most Streamed Single Broadcast Since the 1969 Moon Landing

"These kinds of events are so much bigger than concerts or shows," said Joe Silberzweig, co-CEO of Medium Rare production company, which put on four star-studded events over the weekend. "They're really media properties that attract all sorts of different people, celebrities, athletes, and we use them as business development opportunities to bring in and meet our new partners and all of our brands."

And sometimes, companies end up spending almost as much as a Super Bowl commercial to put on these mega-marketing events.

"The events vary in audience and scale of build, but generally speaking they can range from $2 million to $5 million to put on," Medium Rare co-founder Adam Richman tells Entrepreneur.

Here are five brands that went all out.

Uber

Uber had a strong presence on the Strip — and not just people using the ride-share service to get around. In addition to its celebrity-filled Super Bowl commercials, Uber created a "Get Almost Almost Anything Experience" — a fake grocery store with different rooms showcasing what you can get on Uber Eats, from food and beverages to frozen face masks and flowers.

Guests enter the "Get Almost Almost Anything on Uber Eats" Market at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center (Uber)

"Experiential activations are a powerful vehicle to land brand campaign narratives in the hearts and minds of the consumer. Bringing our Super Bowl ad to life IRL was the ultimate way to let our customers touch and feel what we mean when we say 'Get Almost Almost Anything," Molly Spychalski, Head of Global Brand Partnership Marketing at Uber told Entrepreneur. "Throughout this activation, it was critically important for us to not only tell consumers that they can 'Get Almost Almost Anything on Uber Eats', but for us to show them too."

The brand also threw a party for select Uber One members, which included a performance by Post Malone (who opened up the Super Bowl with a performance of "America the Beautiful") and food from top Uber Eats picks in the area.

Gronk Beach

This year's iteration of Gronk Beach was a bit of a challenge weather-wise, as the unusually cold Vegas temperatures prevented even Gronk himself from taking his shirt off.

But that didn't stop the hoodie-clad former NFL tight end from partying poolside.

Gronk Beach played to its audience — party-loving frat boy types and their counterparts — by partnering with brands that would speak to them, namely Pit Viper, a sunglass brand known for their signature shield shape, and Safety Shot, a new beverage that claims to cut blood alcohol down after consumption.

Rob Gronkowski fires up the Gronk Beach crowd at Encore Beach Club (Medium Rare)

The music was loud, the crowd was hyped, and if Gronk Beach sponsors and guests did one thing right, it was that they all collectively read the room.

Shaq's Fun House

Deejaying your own party is a bold move, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Shaq.

And a little rain in the desert couldn't keep the party-hopping hopefuls from hearing Shaq (a.k.a. DJ Diesel) perform in a carnival-themed fun house that featured pop-up games, merchandise tents, and, of course, a dance floor.

Shaq aka Dj Diesel warms up the Shaq's Fun House crowd at XS Nightclub (Medium Rare)

At the event, Flo Rida was seen enjoying the Celsius energy drinks, which were stationed in buckets around the venue, free of charge for guests. He even asked us to get him one, perhaps thinking we were staff.

Guy Fieri's Flavortown BBQ

Guy Fieri is his own brand, and his pre-Super Bowl Sunday tailgate certainly had no shortage of branded signage and products. From Fieri-branded cigars to featuring his food in the VIP section, there was zero doubt whose event it was — there were even Fieri quotes hanging up around the venue.

And perhaps that was the strongest play — people came to the tailgate party because they love Guy Fieri and what he represents — high-energy inclusivity while rooting for the underdog with an unpretentious demeanor.

Guy Fieri and Gordon Ramsay have a moment onstage at Guy's Flavortown Tailgate (Medium Rare)

"If you want to interact with Guy Fieri and try his food, he curated over 30 restaurants, he'll be there on stage for hours, he'll come on down to Flavortown," Silberzweig said of the event, noting that it was double the size of last year's. "Whether you're meeting a celebrity or not, you're entering their world and their mind in a really fun way."

Fieri personally thanked attendees on the red carpet for spending their gameday with him and offered to bring out food and drinks for everyone working the event — genuine and on-brand.

h.wood Homecoming

On Saturday, the h.wood Group and Uncommon Entertainment hosted night two of the third annual h.wood Homecoming party in partnership with online retailer Revolve, which featured a performance by Jack Harlow and a Taco Bell lounge for guests to hang out in should they need a breather from the music and madness inside the main tent.

The timing of the party was earlier than most (it began at 9 p.m. and ended promptly at 1 a.m.), and while whisky may not be a typical dance club drink of choice, Crown Royal stole the show with free merchandise in the form of long-sleeve t-shirts — genius for a crowd that was shivering in party dresses in sub-40-degree temperatures sans coats.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Marketing

What the C-Suite Needs to Know About the True Power of Earned Media

Through debunking common misconceptions and illustrating its impact across the marketing sales funnel, this article urges C-suite members to embrace earned media as a key driver of sustainable growth and brand influence.

Business News

Disney World, Disneyland Will Now 'Permanently' Ban Guests Who Tell This Lie to Skip Lines

The company rolled out changes to its Disability Access Services earlier this week.

Business News

Adobe's Firefly Image Generator Was Partially Trained on AI Images From Midjourney, Other Rivals

Adobe gave bonus payments to people who contributed to the Adobe Stock database to train its AI, even those who submitted AI-generated images.

Business Ideas

7 Link-Building Tactics You Need to Know to Skyrocket Your Website's Rankings

An essential component of SEO, link building is not just a 'Set them and forget them' proposition, but a dance of skills and strategies.