Incredible Big Game Moments, Persado-fied

persado personalized marketing

The Big Game may not be an official U.S. holiday, but it might as well be. Even those who don’t know a first down from a touchdown can find something to enjoy, like ads featuring puppies and Betty White or the chance to consume a few (or all) of the 8 million pounds of guacamole Americans typically indulge in during the game. But sometimes during the course of of the 4-plus-hour event, it’s hard not to get emotionally invested.

At Persado, we are invested in helping brands achieve the ultimate personalized marketing. Using AI technology to gather insights on a brand’s previous campaigns and campaigns by industry peers, we find the precise language and emotions brands need to connect with their consumers. And like a pro football coaching staff and team, we then review the tape (data) and help clients unearth new, unique insights for long-lasting success and camaraderie with consumers. It’s a fun game of inches, skill and reward, sort of like the football (minus the getting tackled thing). In the spirit of the Big Game, we used our emotional knowledge to break down these four recent incredible moments.


Teams: Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams
Background: A long shot to make the Big Game after winning a combined nine times in the last two seasons, the St. Louis Rams led 16-0 midway through the third quarter. But Tennessee scored 16 unanswered points to tie the game with 2:12 left in regulation. On the Rams’ ensuing drive, quarterback Kurt Warner launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to put St. Louis back up 23-16. But the Titans weren’t done. They drove to the Rams’ 10-yard line, but on the final play of the game, Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Tennessee wide receiver Kevin Dyson one yard short of the goal line to prevent a touchdown.
Emotion: Anxiety. Whether viewers were rooting for one team or no teams, this game — especially in its waning minutes — was a nail biter. In Persado world, where we take pride in being the leaders in personalized marketing and quality insights, Anxiety is all about twists and turns. It’s unexpected, dramatic and alerts people to the importance of a message. Think “Brace yourself” and “Attention Please.” Over the last three years, Anxiety has been one of the top three performing emotions, according to a Persado analysis of thousands of campaigns.
Personalized Marketing Message: DROP EVERYTHING: Rams and Titans are down to the wire.
Channel: SMS. Because this exciting game calls for immediate attention, especially for people who may have tuned out after the Rams went up by 16, it’s best delivered through SMS.


Teams: St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots
Background: The Patriots led 17-3 entering the fourth quarter, but St. Louis went on a 14-0 run to tie the game on a touchdown with 90 seconds on the clock. Without any timeouts, the Patriots drove the ball to the Rams’ 30-yard line. Kicker Adam Vinatieri then played hero, kicking a game-winning 48 yard field goal to seal the Patriots’ first title.
Emotion: Excitement. This upbeat emotion is all about celebrations, something Patriots fans were certainly ready to do after watching their team finally hoist the championship trophy.
Personalized Marketing Message: The wait is over! Vinatieri’s heroics lift Pats to first title!
Channel: This message exudes Excitement (and pride). It would work well on a landing page for a sports apparel company, especially if it is followed by an observational but emotional call-to-action. Think “See your championship gear,” which will pique fans’ pride while playing off their Excitement.


Teams: New York Giants and New England Patriots
Background: The Patriots were vying to become the first NFL team to go undefeated with no ties since the 1972 Dolphins (and the first to do so under the NFL’s 16-game format). The Giants had a chance to make history as the first NFC wildcard team to win it all. We’ll flash forward to the fourth quarter because that’s really all most people remember anyway. The Giants got the ball on their own 17-yard line trailing 14-10 with 2:39 left. They marched 83 yards down the field. Then came one of the most legendary plays in sports history. Quarterback Eli Manning escaped three Patriots defenders and heaved the ball 32 yards down the field. David Tyree made a leaping catch, clutching the ball to his helmet as he came down in what has become known as “the helmet catch.” Plaxico Burress scored the a touchdown with 35 ticks on the clock, and the Giants pulled off the unbelievable upset.
Emotion: Safety. This emotion is all about trust. It eliminates worries or doubts, something that is important in an age where people are skeptical about Internet scams. Language like “seriously” and “we’re not kidding” puts consumers at ease.
Personalized Marketing Message: That.Really.Happened. See David Tyree’s Helmet Make the Play of the Decade
Channel: Email. Whether you were rooting for the Giants, Patriots or both teams to somehow lose, this moment was likely the talk of many offices the next morning. When a professional sits down to sift through emails in the morning, the personalized marketing subject line, which assured the person that the incredible play did in fact happen, and the chance to watch it again with colleagues will entice engagement.


Teams: Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots
Background: Despite not having quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the season due to a Deflategate suspension, the Patriots kept pace and earned the conference’s top seed for the playoffs. In the Big Game, they trailed the Falcons trailed 21-3 at halftime and 28-3 in the third quarter. But New England stormed back with a 25-0 run to even the contest at 28. The Patriots won the coin toss in overtime and capped their epic comeback with a 75-yard drive that ended on a James White touchdown. Their 25-point deficit is the largest erased in Big Game history. New England’s five titles is tied for second most all time, and Brady became the first QB to win five Big Games.
Emotions: Achievement (Patriots) and Anxiety (Falcons) Achievement, perennially a top performing emotion for Persado clients, celebrates big and small successes — this was certainly a big one for the Patriots. In campaigns, you might see “You’ve scored a great deal!” As for the Falcons, all the homes in Georgia likely wanted to send them an “ALERT!”
Message: Patriots: ✋ Give us 5, Patriots Fans! You’re Champs Again! Falcons SMS (sent in the fourth quarter): WAKE UP CALL! This game is not over!
Channel: Patriots – Email. By playing off the the Achievement emotion and the sense of pride it evokes, marketers increase the likelihood Patriots fans will open and engage with the content. Falcons – SMS. Let’s face it: The Falcons needed an alert — fast. Though cell phone use on the sideline is prohibited by the NFL, maybe someone in the locker room would get the message and deliver it to his team before things went from bad to historically worse.

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