How Super Bowl 50 came to San Francisco


One of the promotional items advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners presented to National Football League team owners, in hopes of convincing them to let San Francisco host Super Bowl 50, was a small, elegant white box.

When the box was opened, a white iPhone inside immediately began playing a video depicting football’s “West Coast Offense,” an innovative style of play conceived by legendary coach Bill Walsh that revolutionized the game, followed by household names of Silicon Valley’s most innovative companies.

The artistic immediacy of the mobile video, which, essentially, is a five second window, and the powerful message were captivating.

“Nothing had ever been packaged like that,” says Rich Silverstein, co-chairman and creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Related: 2016 Salary Guide: Marketing’s Captains, MVPs, Rising Stars, Emerging Roles – And What They Earn

Now that Super Bowl 50 is in the record books—congrats, Denver Broncos!—we can look back at the creative pitch that brought the greatest American sports spectacle to the San Francisco Bay Area. Silverstein sat down with CEO Ron Young of Shocase, a social network for professional marketers and a content partner with Five2ndWindow, to discuss how his firm helped broker the deal.

Truth is, Goodby Silverstein & Partners faced an uphill battle. Two major American cities, Houston and Miami, were wooing the NFL and had solid credentials: warm weather and previous experience hosting a Super Bowl. Meanwhile, San Francisco had the stigma of being “a little artsy, a little weird,” Silverstein says.

It all hinged on casting San Francisco and Silicon Valley as a hot spot for innovation. After all, this is home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Uber, Square, Tesla, Instagram. These are the companies that have disrupted the customer experience with the five second window. Silverstein connected this game-changing theme to the West Coast Offense of the San Francisco 49ers, and the rest was history.

“How can Houston win after that? It can’t,” Silverstein says.

Tom Kaneshige is editor of Five2ndWindow, Penton’s independent news site helping line-of-business executives get ahead of the digital disruption happening to the customer experience. For more than two decades, Tom has been keeping an eye on the seam between business and technology. You can reach him at

Leave a Reply