Social Media

43 Ways Any Brand Can Leverage the Super Bowl

It’s that time of the year again when millions of people throng in front of their television sets to watch the game that cannot be named. There’s no other event in America that attracts such an enormous audience. Not only are they glued to their TV screens, but they’re peeking at their smartphones to engage in social media chatter. 78% of the audience have a second-screen for real-time interactions and conversations about the game. This kind of an audience is opportune for brands.


With more than 100 million people tuning into Facebook and Instagram alone during the game, it has become imperative for brands to go all out with their digital efforts. Instead of shelling out millions for a 30 second ad, more marketers are using social media to build brand awareness, using a connection to football, poking fun at Super Bowl advertising or responding to game events to get attention from fans. Digital media has made it easier and more importantly, cheaper for them to advertise during the Super Bowl.

Brands sneakily talking about the Super Bowl is no big secret. Twitter recently announced a separate award for non-sponsors that win great engagement on Twitter on their Super Bowl content. Like in the past, we decided to dig deeper around the pool of Big Game mentions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 2013 through 2017 using Discover.

To understand how brands could leverage the Super Bowl while still flying under the radar of the NFL lawyers, we fired up Unmetric Discover. Searching through hundreds of thousands of Super Bowl related branded content we came across some common trends. Let’s dive in:


Considering the fact that antacid sales see a spike after the game day, it need not be emphasized that Super Bowl is pretty much all about the food. It is second only to Thanksgiving when it comes to food consumption and brands capitalize on it. Facebook and Instagram are the preferred platforms.

Engagement Baits

Facebook has killed engagement bait, but brands have for the longest time benefited from them. Large brands like Nike and Walmart have done it in the past.


Brands tag on to the Super Bowl frenzy by offering discounts. For instance, ShopAtHome offered 50% off on TVs because fans are more than ready to ditch their old TV sets for new ones during the game season.


Twitter has been a traditional favourite for contests. Esurance got two million people to tweet about their contest without even having an official ad spot. Smaller brands have also been successful in getting better outreach through contests.

Influencer advertising

High profile celebrities are the key ingredient in popular Super Bowl ads. Brands are now increasingly building their digital strategy around influencers to increase their outreach.

“Getting ready for the big game in my @levis.” – @adrianalima 👌👖🏈

A post shared by Levi’s® (@levis) on Feb 7, 2016 at 3:14pm PST

Ready for the big game, Angels? 😉🏈#SB51 #regram @alessandraambrosio

A post shared by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret) on Feb 5, 2017 at 3:27pm PST


Instagram has been a fertile ground for beauty brands and it doesn’t change with football season either.

Who’s ready for the big game? #SephoraNailspotting

A post shared by Sephora (@sephora) on Feb 2, 2014 at 1:13pm PST

Are you ready for the big game? Check out our MVPs!!! #playbeautifully

A post shared by e.l.f. Cosmetics (@elfcosmetics) on Feb 7, 2016 at 4:22pm PST


People love their furry friends and it’s no surprise that many of the most shared Super Bowl content have animals in them.

Other strategies that worked

With an ever increasing amount of content being published during the Super Bowl season, brands channel their creative demons to produce a hotpot of marketing strategies. There’s no single formula to hitting it big with social media and it certainly requires some luck as well.

Here are some of our favourites.

Newcastle Ale

In 2014, beer brand Newcastle Ale decided it would make a Super Bowl ad that acknowledged that it couldn’t afford to advertise during the Super Bowl. It hired actress Anna Kendrick, who jokes in the video that she isn’t “beer-commercial hot.” Their integrated campaign included a microsite, trailers and behind-the-scene videos amounting to more than 10 million views.

They did it again in 2015 with more sass.


Video game company Borderlands released a fake ad during the Super Bowl week in 2014. With its bizarre overtones and gross humor it managed to capture many eyeballs.


The job listing site did a Twitter stunt by making an intentional mistake and threw some good old Twitter snark.

Audubon Society and Oregon Zoo

Hitching on the Superb Owl coverage, these organizations were able to get their word out and get noticed.

Here are some more fan favourites

NYC. Big Game. Let’s close out the weekend and win.

A post shared by Beats By Dre (@beatsbydre) on Feb 2, 2014 at 5:58am PST

Almost time for the big game! What are your plans? 🏈 #barbie #barbiestyle

A post shared by Barbie® (@barbiestyle) on Feb 7, 2016 at 1:56pm PST

The key to engaging your audience around Super Bowl is to make sure you have a handle on these three things:

  1. Listen to what your audience is engaging with on social media. Are they more into recipes or do they like funny memes?
  2. Look out for what your competitors are talking about
  3. Display ads and social media content that is relevant to Super Bowl

Get more ideas for big live events by trying out Discover a searchable database of over 700 million pieces of brand content published by over 100,000 major brands in the last five years.

See More “Big Game” Branded Content
Follow all the brand action during the Super Bowl on AdAge’s live Twitter feed, powered by Unmetric Track.

The post 43 Ways Any Brand Can Leverage the Super Bowl appeared first on Unmetric Social Media Analytics Blog.