Among the throngs of people who will be descending on Atlanta for Super Bowl weekend, some will be here for business—not to party. I’m looking at you, public relations and marketing executives (and their lackeys, too).
Of course, preparation for the “big game”—the nomenclature of choice for every company that isn’t technically a Super Bowl sponsor—is well underway.
While the leisure class is calling Chase Sapphire to see if they can get into that impossibly popular concert, my public relations friends are calling Mr. Executive Vice President to see if he has approved his quote in the press release.
I’d bet that Chase is more likely to pick up on the first ring, but I digress. (What? They have really good customer service!)
It will be easy to spot these public relations and marketing folks
They will be the only people with their game faces on that aren’t six foot five and 250 pounds. To guarantee a sighting, visit the business center of a hotel at 7 a.m. in the morning. They’re the only patrons trying to fire up the laser printer—to print off that press release that still needs approval.
Then, of course, there’s the real work: reporter meet-and-greets, interviews, marketing activations, social media posts, media monitoring, parties (don’t get excited, you just need to find Ms. CEO and let her know that Mr. EVP changed the press release), crises (“What, Kylie Jenner tweeted that she doesn’t like our ad?”) and technical glitches (“Tell Mr. Tech that the 30-second version of the ad doesn’t get posted until after the Super Bowl. Take it down! Take it down!”).
At this point, the mere anticipation of this stress probably has you thinking you’d rather be reading about that Gillette ad.
I’m sorry, but you know this is how Super Bowl weekend is going to play out
You’ll consider tweeting back to Kylie, “remember that Pepsi ad?” But you kind-of want to keep your job, although that instinct will be getting weaker every minute that you’re editing tweets drafted by your Generation Z colleague (I jest, but really… Why can’t these kids write as well as millennials?).
About midway through the actual football game—hunched over your laptop reading an otherwise terrific story about your client that unfortunately links to the wrong YouTube clip—you will realize that the FOMO is strong. You went to the biggest party of the year and somehow managed to spend it in the lobby of your hotel.
The soul searching comes next
“Would I be happier trying to make it as an Instagram influencer?” At this moment, the answer seems to be, “I’m tired, and yes.” Your mind wanders for a minute and you check Instagram to see what Jeremy Jauncey is up to. He’s sunning himself on a beach in Bali. If your FOMO wasn’t strong before, that photo just sent it into orbit.
Having sent you into a downward spiral of negative self reflection, it will be hard to get you back to “optimistic” in the next 150 words. But let me try, because your job over the next two weeks is hard enough without me reminding you of everything that could go wrong.
It really is good experience. The Super Bowl is the ultimate marketing bonanza, and any touch points you have with it should go straight to the resume. Not many folks get to work in a hotel lobby on Super Bowl activations. Trust me.
Your clients are appreciative. During the insanity that leads up to the Super Bowl, people are stressed and the pressure is high. The accolades will come, just later—if you get that YouTube link fixed.
Atlanta will be way better when the Super Bowl visitors head home. Yes, the World of Coca-Cola will still be here the next time you miss a connecting flight at Hartsfield-Jackson airport and have five hours to kill. The lines will be shorter, too.
You earned sky miles. Even the worst business trips come with this silver lining. Spend the flight back planning that trip to Bali.
Oh, and one more upside to your job: You could be working social media for Gillette.