I’m not one of those girls that has to ask what a first down is, but I’m also not one of those girls that is so invested she cries at a missed field goal when it’s all on the line. (Although, UVA has taught me a lot about sports-related heartache.) For me, the is just another excuse to host a party, critique the ads, and cheer passionately for a team I started caring about last week. As I watched the much anticipated spots during this year’s big game, several ads caught my eye and made me take a second look – was that an ad for GE or for Budweiser?

In one of its spots, General Electric featured the iconic American lager to help tell its story of engineering, craftsmanship, and American heritage. The Twinkie brand also made a special appearance in another brand’s ad during this year’s game. Its inclusion in the end of a Chevrolet Silverado ad reinforced the truck’s reputation for long-lasting durability, no matter what.

Marketers are getting more creative in how they tell a brand story and are elevating their brands through associations with these other, non-competing brands outside of their categories. Aligning with the right kinds of brands can help build out a personality and create a lifestyle around a brand. It creates context for consumers and strategically leverages shared brand values. By partnering with another brand that is known and respected by the target audience, marketers can elevate the reputation of their own brand. It can be difficult to tell a complete story in a single thirty second spot, but using imagery of another brand that connects with the target can go a long way in shaping a brand’s identity.

The GE spot from the Super Bowl connects these two brands in the minds of consumers through their shared brand values and adds depth to the story of both brands. The ad humanizes GE and makes it seem more relatable, while also promoting the Budweiser brand as an American made institution. When the Chevy owners share a Twinkie, a snack with a reputation for lasting forever, Chevy seamlessly adds another dimension to its message of resilience.

Co-branded communications can help pull a brand in a new direction, or strengthen an existing positioning. As marketing continue to evolve, I foresee more brands working together to build a lifestyle and a more interesting story for consumers. Smart, brand-savvy consumers understand the significance of these brand associations. Today’s consumers better understand the value of a brand and appreciate how these cross branded communications add to the identity of a brand.

During this year’s game, I learned a little more about what exactly GE does, where Budweiser comes from, and what these brands stand for. These co-branded ads may not have been my favorites from the game, but they sure got me thinking.