Breaking the Super Bowl Clutter

We hear conversations about breaking through the marketing clutter all the time, but especially during the Super Bowl. The time-tested tools for brands to garner attention during the big game include featuring animals, humor, or celebrities. However, another secret weapon is experience.

In reality, the Super Bowl, is a collective experience. Just as with all brand experiences, there’s a journey, where fruitful touchpoints can serve as inspiration for meaningful interactions that break through the clutter.

The Pre-game Whitespace

An analysis of social posts shows customers are more actively posting about their activities prior to the game, rather than during the game—suggesting that marketers should think about shifting their goals from during game buzz to pre-game buzz.

Super Bowl Social Analysis:

  • Pre Game Posts: 2,750,966 (80%)
  • Recap Posts: 515,356 (15%)
  • Game Time Posts: 185,279 (5%)

The effort most widely seen is the teaser video formatted for spreading “viral” anticipation ahead of the event. However, an early stand out taking a slight alternative this year is, Skittles. They have invited customers to play a part in their Super Bowl commercial, an original musical, by attending a live performance of the musical scheduled in the afternoon before the game.

Additional opportunity remains in connecting to customers’ Super Bowl journeys and actual behavior surrounding the event. While activations in grocery retail exist in the form of promotions, few brands tap into pre-game rituals, such as office betting squares to the waves of watching party invite texts, or even the month-long January ramp up of play-off football.


Game Time Whitespace

Innovators know to tap into the experience of watching the game. For instance, in 2018, Ally bank, united viewers and stole eyeballs from commercials by providing a commercial-break-activated AR mobile game. The game brought a new level of branded entertainment to commercial breaks, where game watchers became active participants in the brand message –instead of passive viewers.

Opportunity for innovation during the game exists when we break down the fundamentals—fans are together, but often in rowdy environments. They’re often multi-screening and watching a live event, but rarely invited to participate.


Post-game Whitespace

Typically, the who’s who of the USA Today AdMeter dominates the airwaves the Monday Morning after the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, research suggests the power of social conversations around the Super Bowl post-game may not be as magnetic as driving buzz prior. This makes Jack-in-the-Box’s approach very interesting. Prior to the game, Jack-in-the Box has built hype about a special product offered only on Monday—the Superjacked Monday Box. To cut through the clutter, Jack-in-the Box recognized the customer behavior of skipping work the Monday after and built a product around the insight, rather than striving for PR mileage of a video.

To build opportunity post-game, brands must recognize the post-event behaviors, such as traveling or the feeling of regret, loss, frustration or hopefulness for the following year.

Ask yourself, how could your brand provide utility or value across all behaviors tied to the event? While the :30 second spot market is indeed crowded, much richness lies when brands are inspired by the experiential moments before, during and after the game. The brands that truly break through with meaningful impact, break through with an experience-led approach. They’ve also realized this approach isn’t limited to the Super Bowl, but rather the way great brands connect with their customers, always.