How Social Media Changed Super Bowl Marketing

Remember the days before social media? You probably watched every commercial during the Super Bowl and tried to guess which ones your friends thought were the best so you could talk to them about it the next day. As it turns out, if you still watch Super Bowl commercials (and you don’t fast-forward through them all), you’re worth millions.

So to speak.

Big companies pay $4 million just to have you see a 30-second spotlight. What’s changed is that you are no longer waiting to read the newspaper or talk to your friends the next day about your favorite commercials. Chances are, you’re watching the Super Bowl with phone (or tablet or laptop) in hand.

Super Bowl marketing is bigger, more widespread, longer lasting, more expensive, and (ironically, at the same time) more free. How did social media accomplish this and how can your company tap into this marketing tactic? Read on.

It’s a Longer Affair

Super Bowl advertising is no longer a one-night event and done. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, people are gearing up for it with social media. It’s a chance for fellow fans to speculate, for Super Bowl party hosts to look up recipes, and for big companies to release teasers and peak interest in their pending Super Bowl Commercial.

The Takeaway

Start a marketing campaign that centers on a national or community event. Find out what people are searching for online, like recipes or show times, and be the site that gives them information. Join the conversation on social networks. Blog, tweet, and post updates that are clever and relevant.

Branding Opportunities

The Super Bowl is such a visible event that it offers some exceptional branding opportunities. How do the big companies do it? Companies that have $4 million lying around are generally people that you have already heard about. So what is the purpose of their pricey 30-second spot? Branding. The commercials are less about advertising and more about ideas. Think about some of the most viral commercials over the past few years.

Volkswagen is a family-friendly company that will help you make your kids’ dreams come true, Coke supports a diverse and multi-lingual America, and Oreo encourages people to respect the quiet rule in libraries at all costs. By being clever, funny, or even a bit controversial, big companies generate a lot of engagement and “sharing” on social media.


The Takeaway

Get behind a cause or idea that your target customer will appreciate. Create a compelling marketing campaign that does more than just sell a product. Go for it; be witty.

Going Viral

It’s not easy to get your marketing campaign or commercial to go viral. The companies that advertise with the Super Bowl do this by building up their campaign until the night their commercial airs. They reach out to followers on social media weeks before the actual night, releasing teasers and convincing people that they do not want to fast-forward through this commercial. And of course, the commercial itself has to kill it.

The Takeaway

Want to create something viral? Your work begins now. Before you publish a video or blog post or release a new product, start building up to it now. Share snippets of your full-length video, or post funny interviews on YouTube. Invite viewers to follow you on Twitter or Facebook so they’ll be first to hear about the new release.

Campaign Progression

On the actual night of the Super Bowl, the big companies don’t just sit back and let it roll. They engage the entire game. They tweet and they hashtag about the game and the commercials. They pay attention to what others are saying. They keep the conversation going. Skittles was brilliant and shameless in targeting Seattle fans of the 2014 game with Facebook posts:

Super Bowl Skittles



The Takeaway

It’s okay to be shameless as long as you’re clever about it. It’s okay to shout out current events in your advertising.

Free Advertising

You don’t have to pay $4 million to have a successful marketing campaign. You can even capitalize on events like the Super Bowl simply by joining the conversation. All you need is to know how to engage with consumers on social media and mobile devices. Once you get in the social media scene, your followers will give you free marketing with shares, likes, and retweets. Happy marketing!