Can You Build Buzz Like Brands Advertising in the Super Bowl?

It’s ad season for brands as the Super Bowl is less than one week away. This is the time when the ad world is paying close attention to those companies who are long time sponsors (Bud Light) and those who are first timers (Lexus).

The same two trends over the past few years seem to be again rising to the top of this year’s promotions:

  • Online leaking of some ads to extend buzz (Okinos).
  • Use of social media and especially hashtags.

Let’s take a quick look at what some of the ways brands are using this time before the Super Bowl to build momentum around their ad campaign.

Social Listening

To understand if and how consumers are talking about these ads, check out the below BuzzGraph for the terms “Super Bowl” and “Ads”. It shows how keywords are related by volume in social media over the last 30 days.

Super Bowl Ads Buzz Graph

There are some early brand winners such as Doritos, and Bud (Including the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger). It also shows how YouTube and Hulu play a key role in consumers seeking and sharing these ads.

Twitter also dominates the conversation at this point with 70 percent of total mentions of “Super Bowl Ads” across the web, which explains why every one of the teased ads includes a hashtag; however, none of the pre-released ads hashtags have yet gained momentum to be in the top 20 mentions on Twitter.

Paid Promotion

Have brands been doing any paid promotion around their pre-release, such as YouTube promoted videos, or paid search?

I was able to find a few examples of paid media, which I’m glad to see. If you’re going to spend $4 million for a 30 second ad spot, what’s another $100,000 to extend that promotion beyond just the game?

These ads are a great example of understanding user behavior in the use of search.

I also checked out Google Trends to see if there was any measured spike in search volume around these terms. Google Trends isn’t a real-time tool, but I found brands like Jaguar, Pepsi, Axe, Kia, and Intuit to be flat year over year in their search volume. There were two brands that were up year over year, Bud Light and Butterfinger.

Bud Light Super Bowl YouTube PPC Ad

Axe Super Bowl PPC Ad

So what are the keys to being successful in a pre-launch and throughout the Super Bowl, and what can non-Super Bowl advertisers learn from these brands? Here are three simple things.

1. Know Your Audience

The Super Bowl isn’t a very targeted buy. It is billions of people and generally a cross-section of the world.

So why is it important to know your audience? There’s always a desire to do something that appeals to the masses; however, only a certain segment of this massive audience is your target.

Brands of all shapes and sizes need to be mindful of their audience to know how to reach them beyond the Super Bowl ad and extend the reach of the campaign. The same is true with smaller campaigns – insights lead to better media campaigns and better value exchange for consumers. Knowing your audience is alwayskey.

2. Optimize Your Content

If it’s a micro-site or a video asset, people are going to be looking for it via search. This might be searching on Twitter, YouTube, or Google, but they are searching. So optimize all your digital assets with this in mind.

What in your commercial will be memorable and how will consumers search for it? It’s nice when someone remembers your ad, but it’s really a win if they remember the brand that was behind the ad.

Help consumers remember your ad by popping up in search results even if your brand isn’t included in the search. For example, “Full House commercial” might be a keyword search for the Okinos Yogurt ad, but doesn’t mention the name directly.

3. Engage in the Conversation

Whether you have a great ad or a dud, people will be talking. Get involved and join the conversation.

Help people find your ad, product, or services. Give them some extra content to engage more deeply with you.

Let this be the first (but not the last) time that a consumer knows and engages with your brand. Let this be the beginning of a beautiful and fruitful consumer brand relationship.

Look at what engaging in the conversation did for Mercedes and Oreo last year, just two examples of many brands that successfully engaged in the event.

Scale doesn’t really matter here. If you can have a few quality interaction that can easily multiply to create lasting value.


These concepts are always helpful to keep top of mind for any size campaign at any time of year. For now, enjoy the Super Bowl for the game, the weather, and the ads. I hope for a great game and that advertising continues to push our craft forward, especially digitally.

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