Seven Super Bowl Marketing Ideas (That Don’t Cost Millions)

Is your business ready for some football?

The Super Bowl is only days away, and all types of companies (not just food or apparel) can take advantage without spending $3.7 million on a 30-second commercial.

(Fun random fact: 1.23 billion chicken wings will be eaten this weekend, and that’s down 12 million from last year!)

Here are seven ideas for using Super Bowl buzz to your marketing advantage:

1. Tie your business to the story creatively

Just because your business has no direct tie to football doesn’t mean you can’t use the event. Kiva, which helps people loan funds to entrepreneurs around the world, sent an email equating the record-breaking NFL season to its own success.

Besides, the shock of a non-football product mentioning the Super Bowl might grab some extra attention.

2. Release a Super Bowl commercial on a budget

This is too late for this Super Bowl since all commercial slots are sold out, but a Seattle seafood restaurant chain bought a half-second spot for the 2009 Super Bowl. The only thing that flashed was their logo.

If paying thousands of dollars for a half-second spot doesn’t appeal to you, consider making your own commercial and posting it on your website and YouTube and spreading the word using social media.

Need more content marketing tips? Download our free guide now!

3.  Hold an anti Super Bowl event

If 100 million people watch the Super Bowl, that means 200 million other Americans aren’t watching. Appeal to them. Restaurants and bars can offer promises of no TVs.  Other stores may consider offering a sale (whether online or in the store) during the game. It’s probably a good idea to gauge interest in the event before scheduling it.

Jeweler Super Bowl promotion

Saxon’s Diamond Centers earned publicity for a promotion related to the outcome of the Super Bowl.

4. Get people to come in after the game

Use a promotion based on the outcome of the game. Perhaps, offer a percent off for every point the winning team beats the other team by. For example, a 28-21 win means a 7 percent discount on Monday. Be sure to put a limit on the percentage in case it’s a blowout.

A Maryland jeweler is taking a different approach. It’s offering full refunds to customers who make a purchase of up to $5,000 in the week leading up to the Super Bowl if the hometown Ravens shut out the 49ers. (Note: There has never been a shut out in Super Bowl history.)

5. Crash customers’ parties

We don’t mean show up uninvited. Rather, provide some branded swag that people can put out as they host their own party. Make sure it’s something people will use, like disposable cups, napkins, or tote bags for leftovers.

6. Take a stand

Even if you aren’t in Baltimore or San Francisco, you can still have a rooting interest. Like the 49ers? Have a sale where people wearing 49ers gear get a discount or other incentive. Maybe you reward hometown fans who continue to support their team despite not making the Super Bowl.

Be creative. A New York bar banned the sale of Boston beer Sam Adams when the Giants played the New England Patriots—and earned publicity doing so.

7. Even you, B2B companies

In 2011, Salesforce hired the Black Eyed Peas for its Super Bowl commercial. But if you prefer to go a more budget-conscious way, try email. Send an email out to your list on Sunday about some aspect of the game that relates to your business. Marketo’s simple poll about whether the Salesforce ad was worth it saw a 13.5 percent open rate.

Note: Don’t use ‘Super Bowl’ in your promotions

The NFL takes its trademark of ‘Super Bowl’ very seriously. Unless your sale or party has authorization from the NFL, you cannot use ‘Super Bowl’ in advertising, promotional materials, or contests. You may be small enough to get away with it, but why chance it?

This doesn’t mean there’s a total ban. ‘Super Bowl’ can be used editorially (primarily by journalists and radio and TV personalities), but excessive repetition in promotional materials or any insinuation that the company is connected to the NFL is illegal.

To be safe, use ‘Big Game’ or take a tongue-in-cheek approach like Chipotle did – advertising a deal for The Super Big Internationally Televised Professional Bowl Game.

Fact: the Vocus Marketing Suite keeps working while you watch the game. Take a demo now!

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