As the sports industry prepares for one of the biggest sporting events of the year, with Super Bowl LI heading to Houston on Feb. 2, some of the biggest marketers will fine-tune their campaigns to get the most bang for their bucks. Last year’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers brought 111.9 million TV viewers and 16.9 million tweets around the game, according to Nielsen.
As some of the most coveted — and most expensive — ad space happens during the Super Bowl, brands and marketers are looking to traditional TV as one route, but digital presence as another to get their spots and their messages out to the right demographic.
It doesn’t even need to be during the game itself. Pepsi and Papa John’s partnered to create the longest touchdown before Super Bowl 50 ever got started. By enlisting Hall of Famer Joe Montana, a sky-diving set of athletes, Dwight Clark and Devin Supertramp, the spot sent viewers 14,000 feet in the air in an airplane, as Montana and a team of skydivers initiated a catch where Dwight Clark received and rushed the ball into the end zone to score. The videos, including the teasers and behind-the-scenes versions, reached over 18 million viewers including the social media posts and the on-air broadcast on CBS.
But Pepsi didn’t stop there. In a partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings, YouTube personality Scooter Magruder and NFL legend Derrick Brooks, they created a four-part series around football fan stereotypes, such as “Linebackers Be Like” or “Frenemies.” The videos, which got over 4.5 million views on Facebook alone, were distributed on multiple social media platforms.
In 2015 alone, Snapchat grew its 18- to 24-year-old base by 56%, while the number of its 25- to 34-year-old users increased 103% and its over-35 user base grew 84%, according to comScore data. Brands got in on the Snapchat action, too. Gatorade created a filter to allow fans to virtually give themselves and their friends Gatorade baths. Taco Bell used seven influencers such as Shonduras, Jacob Whitesides and The Mowglis, to take over their account on Saturday to debut the Quesalupa.
Some brands created clever linear TV spots that played during the broadcast and hit the internet as well. In a hilariously creative advertisement, Mountain Dew Kickstart created the PuppyMonkeyBaby, a hybrid of all three things who dances and brings the beverage to TV watchers.
Others are already signing on to the traditional TV broadcast this year. Skittles announced that they will create an ad for the third year in a row, following 2016 with Steven Tyler singing “Dream On,” along with their sibling brand Snickers who will show an ad. Avocados from Mexico has joined the candy companies and has claimed its first commercial break spot to get out their “health and wellness message,” according to the brand.
As the big game nears and the pool of teams starts to dwindle heading into the matchup, it will be interesting to watch what marketers choose to do with their money. Will there be another epic touchdown? Or a mutant animal that combines a puppy, monkey and baby? We will have to wait and see.