Super Bowl: A marketers blessing and a curse

The 58th Super Bowl takes place in Las Vegas this Sunday as Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes head into game slight underdogs as they look to win back-to-back Super Bowls. However, off the field there will be an arguably even greater battle with brands fighting against one another to grab viewers attention through well-orchestrated advertising campaigns.

When it comes to marketing, there are not many bigger events to showcase your brand and products than the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl brings you the audience but it comes at quite the cost. It is estimated that a 30-second commercial spot during this year’s game costs about $7 million. That’s a lot of dough for just 30 seconds!

While a Super Bowl commercial guarantees you over 100 million viewers and huge exposure for your brand, companies and their marketing teams will also want bang for their buck. This means coming up with impactful advertising campaigns that resonate with the consumer watching at home, which is easier said than done which all marketers will be aware of.

ARLINGTON, TX – FEBRUARY 06: A Doritos ad is displayed on the screen during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As Super Bowl ads get more expensive every year, it is no longer financially sustainable for companies to just take out commercial advertising for the Super Bowl. What we increasingly see is that companies are taking a two pronged approach to their Super Bowl marketing campaigns. This consists of both TV commercials and digital advertising, often through the various social media channels.

TV commercials allow companies to hit many consumers immediately and all at once. Digital advertising provides the opportunity to target those same consumers online many times, both before and after the game, to further increase brand awareness and enshrine brand identity in the minds and even sometimes in the hearts of the public.

Now let’s get into the marketing campaign itself.

Brands can struggle with what tone they should take for their Super Bowl advertising. Is it better to take a fun and upbeat tone that may provide a moment of relief during what can be an intense sporting event for football fans or will a more hard hitting campaign with strong emotions and drama resonate with audiences greater?

Typically, companies tend to keep campaigns light hearted and fun. For example, this year Ferrera Candy Company has teamed up with TikTok content creator and now movie star Addison Rae to promote their Nerds brand. For those of you who don’t have a sweet tooth, Nerds are pebble-shape neon coloured candies. The aim of this campaign is cross generational appeal.

Addison Rae rose to fame on TikTok for her quirky dance videos and has now amassed 88 million TikTok followers and over 30 million Instagram followers. The Nerds Super Bowl ad campaign involves an initial 15 second teaser video of Rae in a dance studio trying to train the unidentified star of Nerds’ big game commercial, which is set to the song ‘What a Feeling‘ by Irene Cara

This is then followed by a longer 30 second commercial which presents Gummy, a brand persona created to resemble the company’s Gummy Clusters product. The personification of the distinct taste combination of both crunchy and gummy in a single candy piece is achieved through the character. The commercial then returns to Rae, who is seen eating Nerds on a sofa with joy.

Rae is an ideal choice for this advertising campaign because her fanbase would be Gen Z and this audience is the core target market of the Nerds brand. Meanwhile, the song choice of ‘What a Feeling’ by Irene Cara will resonate with older audiences as this is a song from the classic film Flashdance. This helps to create the cross-generational appeal that was mentioned above.

This is Nerds first-ever Super Bowl advertising campaign in its over 40 year history. The Nerds marketing team would have spent a lot of time working on this campaign in order to perfect the right approach that promotes brand awareness and also entices consumers to buy their candies. Like with all major marketing campaigns that are consumer focused, the success of this campaign will be measured by whether there is an uptake in sales of the candy following the Super Bowl.

If not, the suits at the top of Ferrera Candy Company will more than likely question the approach taken by the Nerds marketing team. If so, the campaign will be a success and the marketers at Nerds will be celebrated for their work.

Hence, reiterating the title of this blog that the Super Bowl for marketers can be a blessing and a curse!


Dylan Morley is a senior account executive with the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs team at Fuzion Communications.

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