TV & Streaming

For its first Super Bowl ad, FanDuel is getting Rob Gronkowski back on the field, but not as a tight end

We talked to the company’s EVP of marketing about the campaign.
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· 4 min read

Former Patriots and Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski will be back on the field this Super Bowl Sunday. The kicker? He’s not playing tight end.

Instead, the four-time Super Bowl champ will be trying his hand (foot?) as a kicker for FanDuel’s first Super Bowl ad. Sorry if we got your hopes up; he’s not coming out of retirement.

The 30-second ad will be broadcast live during the third quarter, when Gronk will have one shot to kick a 25-yard field goal. If he makes it, anyone who places a bet of $5 or more on any aspect of the game using its platform will be eligible to win a share of $10 million in free bets on FanDuel, Andrew Sneyd, the sportsbook’s EVP of marketing, told us, adding that regulations mean the company cannot accept bets on Gronk’s kick.

The company’s Super Bowl campaign comes months after its CEO Amy Howe said that she’s “incredibly confident” that FanDuel—which projected revenue of approximately $3 billion for 2022—will reach full-year profitability for the first time in 2023. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal reported that several online-gambling companies, including FanDuel, were “under pressure to rein in spending” in hopes of reaching profitability this year.

With about a month left until the game, Sneyd pulled back the curtain on FanDuel’s strategy for its Super Bowl ad debut.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Marketing Brew: What’s the concept behind the commercial?

Andrew Sneyd: When we decided that we were going to have a Super Bowl commercial, we knew that we needed to do it in a different way because we’re an entertainment product that’s actually a part of the game. We decided we wanted a big, bold brand act that actually connected with all sports fans instead of running a traditional ad. We’re playing our role in putting something on the line.

MB: Why Gronkowski? Why is he the right fit for this?

Sneyd: Well, that’s part of the fun. If it was an amazing kicker, then it would be really obvious that [they were] going to hit it. But it’s kind of interesting to see whether or not, with some good training, he’s going to be able to bring his prowess to the Super Bowl ad stage instead of a tight end on the Super Bowl field and still be successful.

MB: What is it about Gronkowski that makes him a good fit for the brand?

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Sneyd: We really love working with Rob. He’s up for anything, he’s a fun, charismatic person that people are drawn to, and quite frankly, he’s a really good actor…He is very focused on wanting to be able to do a great job. In fact, TMZ actually caught him in November, practicing on field, and that caused a little moment of, like, “Wait a minute, is he coming back to football?”

MB: What’s the plan to raise awareness that this kick is associated with FanDuel, and that you’re also doing this program where users can win a share of $10 million?

Sneyd: Throughout the playoffs and starting [this] week, we’ll be showing a series of ads where we’ll be informing everyone that this is what’s happening and that Rob’s doing it. It starts next week with him actually getting the call that he’s up for this and accepting the challenge, and we have other ads that will run all the way up to the Super Bowl, including the moments before kickoff.

MB: This is your first year as a Super Bowl advertiser. Why start this year and not last, shortly after the NFL first started allowing sportsbook ads?

Sneyd: This the first time it’s in a live-sportsbooks state. [This year] is the first time that the game will actually be [played] in a place that’s got legalized online sports betting, so it felt like the right moment.

MB: I live in New York City, and I remember this time last year, when the state first legalized online sports betting, all of a sudden seeing so many ads. Have you increased your ad spend in the past year?

Sneyd: The industry tends to see a lot more advertising in the early days of the market opening, as ourselves and all of our competitors are eager to be able to get our message out in front of customers that now have an opportunity to do it legally. The same level of intensity is not there in New York anymore. We’re continuing to spend good marketing dollars to win more and more customers over…nationally and in New York, and we pride ourselves on being able to do it in a way where we’re the most efficient acquisition engine. We make sure that we’re spending dollars effectively to be able to make sure that we’re growing the base well.

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