By Barry Janoff
January 24, 2017: Buffalo Wild Wings is not an official partner with the NFL or Super Bowl LI, but it is using one of the league’s all-time great players, Brett Favre, to bring some guerrilla marketing to the Big Game.
Favre stars in a multi-platform campaign, "What the Favre?!" which employs one of B-Dubs key marketing talking points — that customers watching sports on TV in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants can influence the outcome of a game at a crucial time by "hitting the button" — to explain why Farve threw an NFL record 336 interceptions during his 20-year pro career.
B-Dubs and Favre — who was signed specifically for this campaign and not longer-term — will try to hijack Super Bowl conversations via TV spots, Internet, social media and activation in B-Dubs locations — including several in Houston, the site of Super Bowl LI —as Favre seeks to uncover the "real" reason why he threw so many interceptions.
Unknown to Favre, all signs seemingly point to Buffalo Wild Wings customers who rooted for Favre’s opponents and hit the button so that Favre would end up on the losing side.
The faux connection between "hitting the button" and the outcome of actual games has become a legitimate leap of faith for Buffalo Wild Wings customers.
B-Dubs said that last year, there were more than 12,000 interactions on the brand’s social media destinations "where fans called them out, asked for help or were even mad at the final result."
That included some 3,000 tweets during Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, when fans from both sides asked them to intervene using "the button."
Now, in the lead up to Super Bowl LI, Buffalo Wild Wings is "reintroducing fans to the idea that they might actually be able to control or impact the game" between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
According to the Minneapolis-based chain, "Over the next two weeks, Favre will uncover and share new evidence through his social channels (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) that aims to put blame on B-Dubs for tarnishing his legacy."
People will be encouraged to join the conversation using the #HitTheButton hashtag, with Buffalo Wild Wings adding that "friends from the NFL, such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, would join in.
In the launch spot, "The Encounter," unveiled during the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games this past Sunday, Favre is seen in a field throwing passes to scarecrows dressed as NFL players. As his passes continue to go awry, he has flashbacks to his playing days, with sports announcers questioning his skills and headlines that read, "Farve Off-Target."
"It just doesn’t make sense," Favre mutters to himself.
That’s when a mysterious car driven by two "Men in Black" straight out of The X-Files or Fringe pulls up. "Mr Favre," the driver says. "We’d like to talk." Eerie music plays as text reads, “What the Favre is going on?” directing people to social media to #HitTheButton. (See the full spot here.)
In the follow-up, "Marionette," Favre is seen in the same field but unable to control his actions, as if he were a marionette whose strings were being controlled by an unseen force.
As it turns out, the Men in Black have a specially designed lap top they use to control Favre, including having him throw a football into a nearby duck pond. (See the full spot here.)
"Football legend Brett Favre has thrown his share of INTs . . . but does someone, or something, have control over him?" ponders Buffalo Wild Wings.
Additional creative will be unveiled as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.
Favre is no stranger to Super Bowl activity, having quarterbacked the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
In addition to his interceptions, Favre is second among the NFL’s all-time leaders with 72,838 yards passing and 508 TD passes (behind Peyton Manning’s 71,940 and 539, respectively) and is first with 6,300 completions.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016
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