How to do Super Bowl marketing on a budget
Most marketers can’t afford to put out an ad during Super Bowl season. What you can do, however, is leverage the social media buzz and steal your competition’s thunder.
The Super Bowl is every marketer’s dream. It is one of the biggest commercialized holidays in the United States! To put things into perspective, the American consumer spent an estimated $81 on Super Bowl Sunday last year. The majority of the budget went to the food and beverage industry as well as televisions, Super Bowl paraphernalia, decorations, and apparel.
With 98 million active viewers, consumer spending on Super Bowl Sunday, as well as Super Bowl weekend, reached a whopping $14.8 billion in 2019.
I stress the word active because even people who do not watch the Super Bowl or who are not even remotely interested in sports have tremendous awareness of the event and its corporate advertisers. Super Bowl ads have become the holy grail of marketing - last year, a single 30-second ad cost an astronomical $5.25 million.
But guess what?
These mega-brands use the same metrics as you do in order to track the success of such ads. These are centered around social engagement, including:
- Customized links
These metrics help marketers determine how successful a given campaign was based on the type of engagement, as well as how far down the marketing funnel a given ad has managed to push a potential customer.
But the Super Bowl does not only present a golden opportunity for corporations with deep pockets. The age of social media presents new opportunities for marketers who are looking to leverage this cultural phenomenon. According to the 2019 Burson ,Cohn & Wolf Super Bowl survey, 60% of the viewership is interested in content brands put on social media beyond the ads shown during Super Bowl prime time.
A great example of a brand, albeit a large one, who took advantage of this interest while leveraging the hype around the Super Bowl is the Swedish company known as Volvo. There are a lot of lessons marketers can learn from Volvo’s strategy, regardless of the size of your company.
Back in 2015, Volvo decided that it was not interested in spending $4.5 million (the price of a Super Bowl ad that year), yet it wanted to increase brand awareness and conversions. They very much had a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ kind of situation going on. Before their marketing efforts succeeded, people would have thought this to be ludicrous. Afterwards though, people can but be in awe of Volvo and learn from their tactics.
What did Volvo do?
Volvo ‘stole’ its competitor’s thunder by starting a fun game-like social media giveaway. The idea was simple: over the course of the Super Bowl, every time you saw a commercial for a car, any car, not necessarily Volvo, you needed to tweet #VolvoContest. You were supposed to mention a loved one in the tweet who you believed deserved a new Volvo.
While competing car companies spent a total of $60 million on Super Bowl ads, Volvo spent $0 and was able to increase sales by a mind-blowing 70.7% over the following month! Every time a competing car commercial was aired on tv, the number of tweets that included the ‘#VolvoContest’ trended on twitter with a total of 50,339 tweets.
Companies such as:
Ended up paying a six-figure marketing bill and Volvo was the one who reaped the rewards.
The genius of Volvo’s Super Bowl marketing gambit should inspire you as a marketer. It teaches us that the power of creativity coupled with social media should never be underestimated!
How can you leverage the Super Bowl in your next social media marketing campaign?
If you are feeling inspired by Volvo’s success and you want to incorporate a little Super Bowl magic into your social media marketing, go ahead and try out some of these ideas:
- Hashtags - Once upon a time, all advertising outlets were owned. But today, the real marketing driving force is social advertising on everything from Facebook to Twitter. Volvo understood this, and so does one of the most successful advertising agencies around today—Garry Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia. The amount of attention the agency’s Planters Super Bowl ad got on social media through hashtags was staggering. In fact, the Planters campaign got so much traction through mentions that it was highlighted on Twitter’s #BrandBowl.
A great way to actively insert your brand into the conversation for a fraction of the cost (read: free) is by piggybacking on a campaign that is related to your industry through social media. There are ads airing this year in industries which might surprise some, such as cosmetic giant Olay’s commercial using the hashtag #MAKESPACEFORWOMEN. A cosmetics brand that wanted to leverage Olay’s ad spend could create a social media campaign in response to theirs, either in terms of the topic or branded hashtag.
- Engage in the conversation - This is the essence of Super Bowl ads. They tell a story, a narrative which can either be about real issues or just plain funny. You really want to understand the message that is being put across and then decide what you have to contribute to the conversation which will create value for your brand. Consider writing a blog post on your website about one ad in particular which you think will resonate with your target audience. You can share this on your social channels and develop a conversation, while driving organic traffic to your site and social engagement with your posts.
- Choose a side - Though this may sound counterintuitive, choosing one team that your business actively supports may be a great idea, especially if you know your customer base is predominantly leaning towards one team or the other. Show your support on social media, with updates on live team plays and commentary.
- Run a contest - A great way to engage your audience in the conversation is by holding a Super Bowl-themed contest. For example, you can ask fans to take pictures of their Super Bowl facepaint and give the winners a free sample of your new cosmetics line. Whatever your industry is—connect it to football, run a contest, offer a prize and publicize it using social media and a dedicated hashtag.
I’d like to wrap up with one last insight from Super Bowl marketing relating to audience targeting. Most people consider football as a predominantly male endeavor. But in actuality, many women watch the game! In fact, women are doing an average of 60% of the talking online about Super Bowl Commercials. In this sense, having an impact on the female audience may be the key to success in creating buzz and in marketing certain items. The company who was able to understand the value of the female viewership during the Super Bowl is Old Spice. Their campaign entitled ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ was geared at selling men’s Old Spice body wash.
After doing extensive target audience research, Old Spice realized that that Super Bowl ad viewership was higher among women, who made hygiene product purchase decisions in the majority of households. These audience insights had a major impact on the Old Spice commercial creative, which included a shirtless Isaiah Mustafa on a yacht and a horse. In the 3 months following Old Spice’s audience-tailored Super Bowl advertisement, sales of the body wash increased by 55%!
Understanding the audience you are marketing to can have a major impact on the success of a campaign. Try Novarize’s audience discovery and insights tool today!