Last year, social media was on fire with conversations about Super Bowl LI (#sb51). Days before the game was even broadcast, brands were lighting up social with game day ideas, Super Bowl party sales, sample menus, and even video teasers to help big brands generate interest in their multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercials.
On Game Day, fans and partiers took to social media to document their respective Super Bowl celebrations as they unfolded. The day after the Super Bowl people talked about the highlights and Lady Gaga’s 13-minute halftime performance. Memes surfaced. Statistics and infographics were released.
All of this is what makes the Super Bowl worth the $5M the American Marketing Association says advertisers were paying for 30-second commercial spots.
Because whether or not they are fans, whether or not they like football or even know who’s playing (I didn’t know who was playing until my family sat down to watch #sb51), the Super Bowl is an event where people are actively doing things, and buying things, and talking about things on social media. And that’s an ideal environment for smart influencer marketing.
Why the Super Bowl is Such a Big Deal
The Super Bowl is huge to the 76 percent of Americans who watch the game. Not just because it’s the most watched event on American television every year. It is also THE competitive event of the year. Two teams battle it out in a single game - no playoffs. Just a one-and-done match.
Last season, that “one-and-done” meant the Patriots made history by closing a 28-3 lead by the Falcons in the first ever Super Bowl game to go into overtime. The Patriots won the game 34 to 28 after trailing behind the Falcons in the first three quarters of the game. It was an unbelievable match (because the Patriots closed a 25-point gap in the fourth quarter, and because the Falcons let them)!
While about 48 million of us watch the Super Bowl to see miracles like that happen (and being in Atlanta, I gotta say that particular miracle hurt), the remaining 63.4 million of us are most concerned with the commercials, the food, and the half-time show.
Despite the fact that we spend our days habitually checking our mobile devices, we do still crave and treasure shared experiences. The Super Bowl is a time when people can get together in a festive, party atmosphere (whether or not your team is playing or winning) and hang out.
So, win or lose, you can bet that when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around in February, Americans will be watching football, expecting something amazing to happen. It’s a gathering where everyone is emitting positive energy and waiting with great expectation. That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes the Super Bowl the event of the year.
The Economics of the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the ultimate entertainment event. It’s not a concert where it only has meaning to the folks who go, or an awards show that only seems to have meaning if you saw the movies or know the artist winning (or losing) the award.
For people like me who stopped paying attention to music in a decade ago, or whose cinematic repertoire is now limited to works from Pixar and Marvel Studios, the Super Bowl is it. It’s the big event, perhaps as much for the 70K people who see the game live as it is for the 111 million Americans who don’t get to go to the game.
Here’s What We Spend Celebrating the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is only a half-century old. The first game was played in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Back then, you could get nosebleed seats for about $8 (or $60 in today’s money). Today, $8 is how much you would pay for your stadium hot dog at the Super Bowl. Throw in another $11 and you can get yourself a soda too.
The average no-frill seat at the Big Game, is going to cost somewhere around $3K if you buy your tickets blindly, before you know who will be playing. Both Stubhub. com and SeatGeek. com confirm that number. After the playing teams are announced, however, that price can go up by as much as 50%. According to CBSSports. com, the average price for a 2016 Super Bowl 50 ticket was $4,000. The following year, Super Bowl LI tickets sold for between $4,744 and $5,650
after the announcement had been made that the Pats were playing the Falcons. The prices for Super Bowl LII may be even higher.
If you’re not going to shell out three grand for your seat, the next best thing is to shell out the $75 the average person spends celebrating the Super Bowl. Total, we spend more than $14 billion on Super Bowl-related events, not including tickets the game. Here’s what we spend it on:
An article on Forbes. com positions the Super Bowl as a sort of Christmas for the food industry. And that very well may be true. The Super Bowl is the second biggest food consumption day of the year. Thanksgiving is the first.
Food makes up 79.5 percent of planned Super Bowl purchases, according to the National Retail Federation. The top sellers are the party staples - pizza, chicken wings, beer, soda, chips, salsa, guacamole.
To celebrate the Super Bowl, Americans spend, on average:
- $1.2 billion on beer, flavored malt beverages, and cider
- $594 million on wine
- $503 million on spirits (whiskey, Vodka, rum, Tequila, gin)
- $330 million on pizza, the most popular food of the game, eaten by about 46 percent of Super Bowl fans eating pizza at some point during the evening
- $277 million on potato chips
- $225 on tortilla chips
- $99 million on meat snacks
- $89 million on popcorn
- $82 million on chicken wings
- $80 million on deli salads
- $71 million on cheese snacks
- $58 million on deli sandwiches
- $42 million on salty snack dips
- $23 million on deli platters
- $13 million on vegetable trays
- $10 million on deli dips
- $2.3 million on soda
We love our food. Of the top-mentioned brands on Twitter during Super Bowl LI last February, five of them - Pepsi, Skittles, Avocados from Mexico, Budweiser, and Doritos - were food brands.
The next big category for Super Bowl spending is team apparel. Makes sense. Of those polled, 11 percent of Super Bowl fans planned to buy team apparel and/or accessories to show support of their favorite teams and players. Buying team apparel makes up 10.7 percent of total Super Bowl spending, according to the National Retail Federation.
This one actually surprised me. I always pictured a couch, a TV, and a table to hold snack bowls as the go-to Super Bowl party plan. I didn’t take into account that going to a Super Bowl party means you’re going to a Super Bowl party.
Fifteen percent of Super Bowl fans polled listed hanging out with friends as the most important part of the evening, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending on decorations for these parties accounts for 7.7 percent of planned Super Bowl purchases.
Of those polled, 27.2 percent planned to attend a Super Bowl party. Eighteen percent of celebrants were planning a party themselves. Five percent of viewers planned to watch the game from a bar or restaurant.
Companies like Party City and OrientalTrading.com have actual Super Bowl party supply sections on their sites. Pinterest and Instagram posts from DIYers, crafts divas, mommy bloggers, food photographers, and chefs provide plenty of ideas for party decorating in the days before the game.
Believe it or not, people actually buy new televisions are Super Bowl time. Super Bowl season is the best time of the year to buy a large-screen, high-definition, name brand TV, according to Kiplinger. Televisions also account for 7.7 percent of planned Super Bowl purchases. Shoppers can expect to get anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent off the regular price of a state-of-the-art TV right around Super Bowl Sunday.
Side note: I feel really technologically inept referring to a television as “state of the art” but I thought it was a better word choice than referring to it as a “fancy pants TV.”
Finally, new furniture purchases account for $465 million, or 3.3 percent, of total consumer spending for the Super Bowl. January through mid-February is one of the best times of the year to get a good price on new furniture. This is one of two times in the year furniture retailers are liquidating their old inventory to make room for new models.
Can Influencer Marketing Help You Reach Your Audience?
So, a Super Bowl influencer marketing campaign is absolutely doable if you can find a way to market beyond the typical product placement post. In the next post, we’re going to give you 11 strategies for building Super Bowl influencer posts that can get attention for your brand, even when your audience is temporarily obsessed with partying.
For this post, I want to look at a few timely Super Bowl-related ideas that are wide open for a great influencer marketing campaign. The goal here is to give you ideas on how you can leverage the Super Bowl conversations that are already happening across social, and especially on Instagram, and use them as the springboard for your campaign.
If you don’t know what these are, snack stadiums are snack stations organized to look like football stadiums. When I searched the term imid-December, there were about 2,200 posts tagged #snackstadium across Instagram. This one below was actually a Pinterest pin cross-posted to Instagram by Margie Romney-Aslett (@justagirl). With the exception of Amazon’s post about Alec Baldwin’s snack stadium (it got 28.8K views and more than 2600 Likes) Margie’s snack stadium post is one of just a handful using the #snackstadium hashtag that got over 500 likes.
The beauty of the snack stadium is the possibilities inherent in designing one. Designers have flexibility in the foods they include as part of the stadium, as well as the materials they use to build the stadium.
So, for instance, food manufacturers, nutrition brands, or health and fitness experts can target influencers to build a vegetarian stadium, or a low-carb keto stadium, or a stadium of salty snacks or sweet snacks. The options are endless.
Lindsay (@cococakeland) posted a snack stadium (pictured below) that looks like it was built using the same foam poster board my daughter uses for school projects. Another stadium I found had 12-oz soda cans for exterior walls.
Austria’s Faser.stoff actually manufactures corrugated cardboard that is perfect for building snack stadiums. Yet another Instagrammer posted a picture of a snack stadium made of paperboard magazine holders, the kind you can grab at Ikea or an office supply store.
Just as there is an infinite number of snack combinations you can include in the snack stadium, there’s an infinite number of materials you can use to build one - construction paper to make the triangular flags, self-sticking letters to make the scoreboard, wood blocks to make the stands, coffee stirrers for goalposts, glue, staples, aluminum foil, you name it. DIY projects like building a snack stadium presents an opportunity for food brands, craft brands, office supply brands, and a thousand other brands to get in on the action in a way that’s timely and relevant.
Recipes are a dime a dozen, but specialty recipes always win. If you can tell me how I can live on Flaming Hot Cheetos like a college co-ed and stay on my low-carb diet, I will like your post, watch your video, and buy your magic potion.
Diets never go out of style. Somewhere, someone is always cutting something out of their diet or adding something to their diet. Last week I made an avocado chocolate mousse. Coincidentally, I bought 32 ounces of frozen Welch’s avocados to create the high-fat, low-carb dessert. Why? I saw a post on Instagram one day and sort of stored that idea in the back of my mind for a rainy day. People do it all the time.
If you can provide people with enough time to get the ingredients they need to make low-carb, vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, cholesterol-free, gallbladder diet, or whatever other specialty dishes they want to try for the Super Bowl, go for it.
The Halftime Show
There were thousands of posts about Beyoncé after her halftime performance at Super Bowl 50, and thousands of Lady Gaga posts in the days following her halftime performance at Super Bowl LI. The screenshot below is a picture of Jenn De La Torre’s (@delajenn) Halloween costume. She’s dressed like Gaga dressed during the second half of her Super Bowl LI performance.
The Super Bowl halftime show has long-lasting impact. Before the show, performers are posting pictures of their arrival and the rehearsal. During the show, people are tuning in to watch. In fact, Lady Gaga’s performance was the second most-watched Super Bowl halftime performance in history (second to Katy Perry’s 2015 performance), and it boosted total Super Bowl LI viewership numbers from 111.3 million to 117.5 million between 8:15PM and 8:30PM.
After the halftime show, the reviews start pouring in on Instagram - of the performance, of the outfit, of the hair, of the makeup. And that’s where marketers can capitalize.
For the 6.2 million folks who appeared and disappeared with Lady Gaga, they are a demographic that can be courted by brands in the days leading up to the big performance.
For instance, a beauty company could partner with several expert makeup artists who have the skill to recreate Gaga’s look with whatever tools they already have in their studios and live stream the transformation immediately following the performance. The influencer who comes the closest wins something cool.
Or a brand may instead decide to give prizes to followers whose self-makeover looks the most like Gaga and is the most dramatic transformation from the way they normally look. A contest like this could just as easily be sponsored by a skin care company as it can by a makeup brand or a wig company.
Again, the point is the make the best use of the conversation already happening on social.
Snacks for the Long Game
Proper branding is as important as selling. When you’re marketing products like snacks and perfumes on social media, great branding makes the difference in whether you eventually get the sale.
The things with snacks is that it’s hard to move people to buy them immediately. As much as I love popcorn, I’m not going on a “popcorn run” anytime soon. Popcorn goes on my shopping list, and most times, I buy the same brand week after week. But…
I can be swayed.
The sponsored post above from Jessica (@dessertswithbenefits) was one of nine I found for Boomchickapop during the days leading up to Super Bowl 50. All the sponsored posts for Boomchickapopwere exciting and brightly colored. They were all product shots using the #BringtheBOOM hashtag. I clicked on all of them, actually hoping each post generated enough engagement to be included in this article. Just because the product packaging is so pretty.
Posts featuring just a product generate notoriously low engagement. They usually look like ads and Instagrammers don’t respond well to posts that look like ads. So, you have two options:
- Use product posts like this one for Boomchickapop to build brand awareness, that way you don’t have to worry so much about converting Likes to sales. You still want to make sure to use influencers who can keep your engagement numbers above 1%.
- Your second option is to get more creative about your product placements. By that, I mean you can make your products utilitarian and steer the focus of your post to the actual influencer or a finished product (like a low-fat popcorn-only snack stadium filled with different Boomchickapop flavors. Or you can make your product presentation spectacular so your product looks like art. Compartes Gourmet Chocolates is a master at this technique. I’m going to talk more about their strategy in the next post.
The Wrap Up
The Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year. It gets more television views than any other programming and moves more than $14 billion. There are nearly as many women watching the Super Bowl as there are men (43 percent and 57 percent, respectively). And companies that buy TV ad spots during the Super Bowl are spending millions of dollars on ad spend, celebrity appearances, development, production, and promoting the spot before it airs on the big day.
There is plenty of money to be spent, and plenty of money to be made. If you have the right Influencer Marketing strategy. If you need help crafting a winning strategy that is just creative and interesting enough to be great, let us know. We have built thousands of successful influencer campaigns.