An estimated 100 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIV, as the Kansas City Chiefs took down the San Francisco 49’ers in Miami, Florida. While the sporting event is one of the biggest in the world, the game is equally known for drawing in millions of viewers eager to watch the bold, strange and often memorable advertisements that debut during its many commercial breaks.
It’s an important cultural moment, something of a holiday in Marketing World, and an interesting occasion in which viewers seek out traditional advertisements as a form of entertainment. Super Bowl has been home to some of the internet’s most viral commercials, from the fondly-remembered E-Trade Baby to the heart-string pulling Star Wars Kid.
But viewership is in an unsure place for the Super Bowl, and traditional advertising as a whole, as younger generations continue to cut cable cords and say sayonara to traditional programming in favor of digital content – chiefly, content from their favorite social media influencers.
Last year viewership was down to 98.2 million views. So it’s no surprise then that this year the NFL ramped up their marketing strategy with plenty of social media and influencer tactics to appeal to Gen Z and millennial viewers.
So what stood out to us?
TikTok’s Presence Was Everywhere
TikTok is the new kid on the block and a lot of marketers were curious as to how big of a splash it would make on Game Day. As expected, many major brands deployed their first TikTok campaigns to great success. Perhaps the best example of this is TurboTax’s #W2Step, which included a number of different strategies including an official branded hashtag challenge and televised spot to drive awareness. The brand also partnered with influencers to lay the groundwork for content, as TikTok videos are extremely iterative.
And might we say, doing the W2 Step is as fun as it is easy to do, but your results at the club may vary.
SuperBowl LIV’s own branded hashtag racked up a whopping 541.5 Million views as of 7:30 PM.
And of course, a number of popular TikTokers such as Charli D’Amelio appeared in TV spots alongside traditional celebrities, such as the Sabra mashup commercial including popular Drag Queens Kim Chi and Miz Cracker.
Brands Put Their Values Front and Center
One of the defining characteristics of Gen Z is their desire for brands to align themselves with causes they care most about. This year, many major brands stepped up with emotionally-resonant campaigns such as New York Life’s #LoveTakesAction driving home important messages of equality and acceptance.
But getting involved doesn’t always mean bringing a somber and serious tone to Game Day. Olay found a clever way to show their support for gender equality while keeping a lighthearted tone and incorporating social media influencers – their Make Space for Women campaign featured certified funny girl and social media influencer Lilly Singh!
Brands Deployed Influencers All Weekend Long
It may be called Super Bowl Sunday, but the weekend leading up to Game Day is an event unto itself with plenty of opportunity to generate buzz. For example, the hotly-anticipated F9 movie trailer debuted during a live-streamed event on January 31st, and influencers were brought in to ignite the spark for the film and many of the brands it features. Our favorite example was Dodge, who brought the high-octane energy of the Fast and Furious franchise to the real world with influencers who felt as if they were plucked straight out of the film.
Budweiser also saw success by inviting over 100 influencers for a three-day hotel takeover much in the vein of Taco Bell’s now infamous Hotel Taco Bell.
So which ad caught your attention the most, and why was it the Charlie Day extended commercial for Tide Pods? We’d love to hear from you on our social media channels or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.