It’s nearly time for the big brands to battle it out again in the ultimate advertising arena – the Super Bowl. With last year’s event drawing nearly 112 million viewers, a massive audience is guaranteed and leading brands are as enthusiastic as ever to get noticed. But what’s the best approach for brands hoping to score big this year? And is grabbing a prime TV spot really worth the price?

1. Give TV the attention it deserves.

Alongside the game, Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon, allowing brands to drive excitement and conversation. For those without name recognition, a Super Bowl ad can instantly put them on the map and give them an instant lift. Meanwhile, well-known brands can use the Super Bowl to build brand affinity or redefine themselves – something Ford did last year when it showcased itself as a transportation solutions provider, rather than just an automaker.

The Super Bowl commercials might come with a hefty price tag, but TV ads should not be overlooked by brands. Our latest research shows there’s nothing more powerful than a TV ad to raise brand or product awareness among this year’s supporters. In fact, as many as half of Eagles or Patriots fans say they discover new brands or products via TV ads, and among Eagles fans specifically, TV ads are the top scoring channel of all.

There’s nothing more powerful than a TV ad to raise brand or product awareness.

2. Use social media to spread your message.

Maximizing the digital footprint of a campaign could set the winners apart from the losers. There’s no denying the reach of social media and the cost-effective opportunity it offers to be part of the conversation. Avocados from Mexico did this well last year when they encouraged users to tweet #AvoSecrets and #AvoSweepstakes to unlock inside secrets and win prizes.

PepsiCo, meanwhile, integrated a more extensive multi-platform social strategy, partnering with Snapchat to showcase live content during the game and having a twelve-day #FanCountdown to the Halftime Show on Twitter, for example.

Over half of Eagles and Patriots fans say they use social media on another device while watching TV, creating more views to advertise against. What’s more, with over a third of supporters liking or following a brand on social media in the past month, that’s a decent proportion who are happy to be exposed to branded content in their feeds.

Eagles fans in particular stand out here; they’re almost twice as likely as their Patriot counterparts to be sharing branded posts, showing clear potential for branded content to spread organically among this audience.

Maximizing the digital footprint of a campaign could set the winners apart from the losers.

3. Learn from Bud Light.

As the official beer of the NFL, Bud Light’s Super Bowl campaign is well under way. Along with its latest campaign featuring the viral “Dilly Dilly” catchphrase, Bud Light also promised “the party is on us” if Philadelphia wins this year’s Super Bowl.

This bold approach not only allowed Bud Light to become central to many conversations on Twitter, it also meant that many consumers would be actively thinking about Bud Light while watching the Super Bowl. This is a smart move for raising awareness and appeal of the brand – especially among Eagles fans who at present are slightly less likely than Patriots to be drinking Bud Light (20% vs 27%).  

It’s up to brands to maximize visibility across both traditional and digital channels and generate engaging content that complements the big screen.


Written by

Katie is a Strategic Insights Manager at GWI. Moving to the company 4 years ago, Katie heads up the Strategic Insights team, overseeing the production of bespoke assets for clients. Katie also writes on GWI's blog, with a particular interest in social media and marketing.

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