Super Bowl Advertising Lessons Learned for Online Marketers

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The National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl is one of the world's premier single-day sporting events. The 2015 game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks drew over 114 million American viewers and a global audience of of about 160 million.

Of course, the Super Bowl is more than a football game. It has evolved into a two-week business and marketing extravaganza that highlights an appetizing slice of American culture.

In recent years, nothing has attracted more attention than the infamous and often over the top Super Bowl commercials, which cost advertisers $4.5M USD per 30 seconds to air ($15-20M on average to produce).

Small business people, including dedicated Internet marketers, may never be in position to promote their products and services in a Super Bowl ad. However, they are always in position to take valuable lessons from the event and use them to grow their enterprises.

1. Combine Your Branding Efforts with a Call to Action

The iconic NFL shield not only identifies the most popular professional sport in America, but screams out to supporters: buy our merchandise, subscribe to the NFL Network, load up on Sunday television and interactive packages, etc. No wonder it is an eleven-billion dollar corporation today.

Becoming popular or recognized by peers in your particular niche is great. Still, the bottom line being what it is, you are going to have to convert at least some of that goodwill and verbal support into real sales and business revenue.

  Therefore, even at the start of a campaign, make some kind of offer to prospects that drives them to take action. It doesn't necessarily have to be an immediate purchase (although it could be!). Use the product awareness generated to send them to a website to learn more, join a membership site, or sign up for special discounts or coupons.


2. Give Your Fans Reasons to Engage

Many of the most recent Super Bowls have come down to the wire, and have elicited massive reactions before, during and especially after the game. A great marketing tool for and lead in to the football off-season (free agency, NFL draft, rookie camps, formal training camps, etc.).

Similarly, you should pursue meaningful conversations with your fans beyond initial contact. A passive and non-ideal social media marketing strategy is to slap down a whole pile of social media icons and pray that people will pick up the ball (sort of speak).  Don't do it!

What you could do is ask a binary survey question (i.e. only two possible answers) related to a blog, Instagram image, Facebook post, Twitter tweet etc. To engage readers is to make them think about the content that you have just put before them.  Now, use the appropriate social media applications to keep things going.

3. Extend and Repeat Your Call to Action Often

The cable universe has been fruitful for many sports, but it has been a godsend to the NFL, that has raised redundancy and repeat programming to high art.

Redundancy is often a powerful technique in various engineering processes, and it also has usefulness in Internet Marketing.

All too often, a business person will flood the listener or reader or viewer with massive content, but only briefly ask the audience to act. This is where you are leaving a ton of money at the table.

The eternal “tire-clickers” who never buy anything may whine about your sales pitches, and sure, the hesitant buyer may lash out because they feel some pressure to accept your invitation. However, this is an opportunity to reinforce your message to your core audience, and if they know, like and trust you as they should, it is a win-win proposition in the making.

4. Don't Ignore Mobile Marketing

The time has come to embrace mobile marketing, because nine out of ten Americans own cellular phones, with the majority now being smartphones. Various applications (social media, proprietary), e-mail, text (SMS), mobile-friendly websites and other options exist.

  It just takes some testing and evaluation to see what really works best.

Mobile is the new wave of customer interaction. Even solopreneurs with limited budgets can exploit this option to make real-time offers and ensure they are optimizing their email marketing for mobile devices.


Thinking big doesn't demand being big right from the start. The original Super Bowl in 1967 only drew 51 million viewers, and a thirty-second commercial cost forty-two thousand dollars!  Build a solid foundation of loyal followers who are willing to spread your message virally, give people what they want, then place your offers in front of those who literally hunger for what you are prepared to deliver to them.