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The countdown is on, college football season is right around the corner (hallelujah)!  Being the offspring of a Georgia Bulldog and Auburn Tiger, and then marrying a die-hard Tennessee Vol, I along with the rest of SEC country are counting down the days to Saturdays in the South.  And, no matter if you’re an SEC fan, Big Ten, or Pac-12, you know what goes hand-in-hand with college football…tailgating of course!

Just like everything else in the experience economy, the tailgating and fan experience has evolved over the past 20 years.  Nowadays, you can rent grand tailgate setups with tables, chairs, televisions, and even stocked coolers without even lifting a finger.  My alma-mater took it a step further creating a row of tiny mansions, complete with air conditioning, a mounted flat screen, plush furniture, and a private bathroom (totally worth the $5k rental cost to avoid the porta-potty, right?!).

This new era of tailgating gives brands an amazing opportunity to reach thousands and thousands of consumers face-to-face, in a high-energy atmosphere.  Simply put, you cannot go wrong with live marketing events in this type of environment.

3 Reasons Why Tailgate Marketing is So Effective

It’s the Perfect Environment…

The game day atmosphere is one giant party filled with energy and enthusiasm.  People are ready to cheer on their team, hang out with their friends, and have a little fun.  For this reason, tailgate marketing gives brands the perfect chance to engage with people in a positive and relaxed environment.

At the Perfect Location…

Tailgate areas pack people in hours before the stadium gates open, giving brands a lot of time to make an impact on consumers.  Given the vast area where most tailgating takes place will provide you with ample ground to cover and space to make your mark.

With the Perfect Consumer

The beauty of college football is it that it draws such a diverse crowd.  You’ll find men and women of all ages in attendance which allows any brand to easily interact with their target consumer – no matter who they are.

As tailgates have turned into the ultimate fan experience, brands of any size, from Fortune 500 companies to local businesses, should be taking full advantage of reaching their fans on game day.  Here, we’ll look at a few tailgate marketing ideas that will help you win brand fans.

Win Brand Fans With These Tailgate Marketing Ideas

Promotional Giveaways Score Big

Everyone loves freebies and product samples.  And, just about everyone at a tailgate is a football fan, if not, they are there with one.  When you think about your branded giveaways, give away items that fans will actually use.  Branded pom-poms with the home team’s colors, koozies, foam fingers, stuffed mascots for the kids, there are so many options.  By blending the brand with the home team, you’re giving your fans something that they’ll hold on to as a souvenir.  Additionally, comfort items like bottled water, cooling towels, or hand warmers are always popular items.

Cover the Quad with Street Teams

The great thing about game day tailgates is you are not limited to a stationary setup. Brands can use street teams to canvas tailgate areas to promote their products or services.  Street team brand ambassadors can be used to distribute promotional items, collect leads, promote products or services through targeted messaging, drive people to a physical activation, and more.  Logistically, street teams are an easy and cost-effective promotional strategy for tailgate marketing.

Make Some Noise with Social Sharing Elements

Shared photos, hashtags, and check-ins are a big part of the game-day fan experience, so why not capitalize on that?  No matter what type of marketing event or brand activation you choose, be sure to incorporate some type of social media element to increase engagement.  Photo booths, social media contests, and hashtag campaigns are all great examples of how you can spread your reach around campus and the world.

Get in the Zone With Games and Activities

When people see other people participating in something fun, they want to be a part of it, too.  Offer games and activities to attract a crowd to your experiential activation. This could be as simple as a prize wheel or game of corn hole, or something more immersive like a virtual reality experience like this one that puts the participant on the sidelines of a football game.  Elements like this not only attract consumers, but they keep them around which allows you plenty of time to interact with them.

Stay on Target With Mobile Marketing Trucks

Branded marketing trucks (think food truck style) have become an increasingly popular strategy in experiential marketing.  For one, their mobility makes everything super easy to manage when dealing with congested areas.  You drive in, set-up, and you’re in business. This means you no longer need to haul in tents, tables, activation elements, inventory, and signs.  Mobile marketing vehicles offer plenty of storage for premium items and other activation elements.  Not to mention, they are super noticeable with customized vehicle wraps and sound systems.

Team Up with an Event Staffing Company

With all of this, there is one important thing to remember.  Your brand ambassadors, those representing your brand, are your biggest cheerleaders.  And with the number of brands competing for great brand ambassadors on college game days, you will need to partner with an event staffing agency to ensure you have the right team representing you.  Experienced event staffing agencies know the ins and outs of recruiting, hiring, and managing staff in college markets. They begin sourcing candidates months ahead of football season.  This ensures that they are fully prepared to assist their clients with their tailgate marketing needs.


Whether your seeking to create brand awareness or solidify brand loyalty, tailgate marketing events offer it all.  The ideas and tips we have covered will help take your brand to the next level!

At ATN Event Staffing, we match our clients with the perfect brand ambassadors through selective screening and interview procedures.  As a result, our clients get exactly who they need to reach their consumers, making their experiential marketing events successful.  If you are planning a tailgate marketing event and need amazing people to represent your brand, we’re here for you!

Need Event Staff?  ATN Has You Covered.