The Super Bowl remains entrenched as the ultimate TV event in America, averaging 111.9 million TV viewers for last year’s Super Bowl 50. The actual number is really larger than that, as the 111.9 million number doesn’t include those who watched it at viewing parties, restaurants or streaming on the Web.
In marketing campaigns, any event with a large number of people is an opportunity for marketing success. The Super Bowl has the numbers, for sure. In addition to this, the marketing blitz surrounding the game is actively welcomed, in a sense, by viewers. The commercials, the cost of which totaled a record $377 million in spending for Super Bowl 50, are an integral part of the viewing experience.
The Super Bowl is both an event with massive viewership numbers and a viewer base that’s generally receptive to marketing throughout the night. It’s the type of night where even those who despise commercials will be interested in the commercial content, if only for the purpose of seeing what millions in ad purchasing buys.
This all makes for a superb marketing campaign opportunity. Using the Super Bowl in your marketing efforts is something every business should consider. Here are some tips to get you started.
Integrating social media into a marketing campaign is practical in 2017. The Super Bowl generates plenty of online buzz, so it’s a good idea to center a marketing campaign around getting users of social media-driven apps to simultaneously post/tweet/snap about the Super Bowl while promoting a product.
As evidenced by multiple campaigns, PepsiCo is well aware of the game’s ample marketing potential, especially as an NFL sponsor. They partnered with Snapchat, whose app has filters where users can change the appearance of their surroundings or face. With this built-in feature already in mind, they simply added a Snapchat filter that emulated a Gatorade bath. It certainly helped that celebrities like Serena Williams publicly took part.
Any campaign that further immerses fans into the game while allowing them to visibly showcase their enthusiasm on social media has extreme marketing potential.
Offline and Online Cohesion
Online marketing campaigns can be very successful, although some of the most successful marketing campaigns have found a fairly even distribution between an online and offline presence. A great example of this, with the Super Bowl in mind, occurred with Uber’s PuppyBowl campaign.
Here, they teamed up with various organizations around the country to find new homes for dogs. Users could request the “PUPPIES” option in the app and have a puppy squad arrive, where you can “enjoy a 15-minute cuddle huddle” with the puppies. In most cities, you’re eligible to adopt them, as well. The fee was $30 and proceeds went to supporting shelters and rescues.
It was a win-win campaign that was fun for consumers, found some dogs a nice home and showcased the Uber service and app to current and new users alike. The campaign was certainly a touchdown!
It might be ideal to have everything mapped out ahead of a marketing campaign, though sometimes things occur spontaneously. A quick wit on marketing platforms in response to pop culture phenomena or well-known incidents can go viral and achieve great (and free!) word-of-mouth.
Few examples prove this better than Oreo’s response to the third-quarter power outage during Super Bowl XLVII. Soon after this occurred, Oreo tweeted an ad featuring a sole Oreo, with the captions “Power Out? No problem” and “You can still dunk in the dark.” Tens of thousands of re-tweets and Facebook likes followed, allowing Oreo to get what was essentially a free premium ad spot and become one of the more buzzed-about products during the Super Bowl, without a commercial costing millions.
Appeal to Homerism
While appealing to both Super Bowl teams may come across as somewhat desperate, a marketing campaign can do so successfully if engagement and fun is allocated evenly. For example, a car dealership could drum up substantial buzz prior to the Super Bowl by featuring a custom-created vehicle featuring the NFL teams. Either as a physical showcase or via pictures on social media, adorning your product with team-related coloring and design is a great idea to attract attention.
Just be sure not to show too much favoritism toward one side, unless you’re in a one-dimensional territory (like a car dealership located in Atlanta or Boston).
Use the Power of Crowdsourcing
Social media and smartphones have made creating and sharing video content easier than ever. This has made crowdsourcing marketing content easier than ever. Especially for an event like the Super Bowl, you can bet that fans are “game” to get involved.
Doritos have employed this strategy brilliantly over the past decade or so in the Super Bowl. They invite fans to create their own Super Bowl ad, competing for the opportunity to have it aired on game night. This engages fans directly and saves on advertising costs, for sure. Another one of their strategies, to buy tickets for fans under the condition they wear orange to create a Dorito-shaped section in the crowd, was another attention-grabbing strategy that worked well.
Value the Pregame
“Pregame” refers to the week or so before kickoff. Research shows that many major Super Bowl commercials already have millions of views before the big game. It’s akin to the holiday season, where build-up buzz is just as, if not more, important than the big day. With millions being spent on these campaigns, many have a specific schedule in mind for having the campaign endure, rather than just appearing as a flash-in-the-pan.
Strategies to maintain commercial relevance despite an early release often involve social media engagement, or hashtag implementation like Doritos’ #crashthesuperbowl or Avocados from Mexico’s #AvosinSpace. These all give fans a reason to keep being engaged beyond seeing the ad for the first time.
These six strategies should help enhance your marketing campaign so that it takes full advantage of the Super Bowl, in addition to the massive viewership and viral potential it brings.