Now, the 52nd Super Bowl is also history. In an enjoyable offensive spectacle, the Philadelphia Eagles celebrated their first Super Bowl triumph and dethroned the New England Patriots around star quarterback Tom Brady. The underdog prevailed in this high-class final of the National Football League in the U. S. Bank Stadium of Minneapolis with 41:33 against the defending champion. Both teams broke the previous record for jointly achieved yards.

But the Super Bowl was not only the highlight for the players and fans from Boston and Philadelphia. The Super Bowl is also the marketing endgame of the year for numerous companies. Large-scale PR campaigns are developed around the event. A 30-second commercial in the game’s half-time break costs more than $5 million this year.

Advertisers no longer limit themselves to one commercial running during the Super Bowl. Instead, entire campaigns are developed around the event. Video platforms like YouTube also play an important role.

Doritos and Mountain Dew got full beast mode and let Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman having a rap battle against each other with the voices of Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot. Car manufacturer KIA advertised with rocker Steven Tyler and Brazilian Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

Why all this? For example, singer Beyoncé mentioned the fish restaurant chain Red Lobster during her halftime show in 2013. Their sales rose by 33 %.

Crisis PR at the Super Bowl? From Nipplegate to Deflategate
Star Act of this year’s halftime show was for the second time superstar Justin Timberlake. However, his last appearance at the Super Bowl also showed that crisis PR can be an important factor. His performance with Janet Jackson went down in history and since then has ensured that there is a 5-second delay during the halftime show. This delay was introduced after the “Nipplegate” scandal to prevent a PR disaster similar to that 14 years ago.

Three years ago, the Patriots were also involved in the so-called “Deflategate” affair. In the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, footballs with too little air were used. After a long back and forth, Quarterback Tom Brady faced a four games sentence. Criticism for a bad crisis PR was mainly directed to the NFL itself.

One of the best-known advertising campaigns at the Super Bowl has been around for 31 years. In 1987, Disney launched the famous “What’s next?” campaign. It celebrated its premiere at the 21st Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. Shortly after the game, Phil Simms, quarterback of the winning Giants, was asked: “Phil Simms, you’ve just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?” As agreed, he answered: “I’m going to Disney World.” Both Simms and Bronco’s quarterback John Elway agreed to say the now famous post-match phrase shortly after their possible triumph. Since then, stars have been responding every year to the question that is afterwards broadcasted as an advertisement.

Other companies also shone with successful PR campaigns
In 2014, Doritos knew that it would not be easy to stand out from the competition with other advertisers. So, they chose the creative way. Soccer fans in Germany are used to the famous Telekom T in the Allianz Arena for years. Dorito utilized the same idea and dressed 30 people in bright orange to form a Dorito chip in the stands.

In 2013, a power outage caused a game interruption of just under 35 minutes. Social networks like Twitter exploded as viewers began to wonder what was going on. The social media team of biscuit maker Oreo reacted quickly and creatively. It tweeted an image with the caption: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” So, it cleverly exploited the great attention.

Americans consume 120 million litres of beer on the day of the Super Bowl which of course leaves traces. About 10 percent of all Americans report sick the day after the Super Bowl. The ketchup manufacturer Kraft Heinz not only gave all his employees a day off after this year’s Super Bowl. The food company also launched an online petition to call on football fans across the country to sign up for their self-developed “Smunday” (a combination of Super Bowl and Monday) as a national holiday. With 100,000 votes, the corporation intends to submit the petition to Congress. Nearly 30,000 people have signed it so far. For Kraft Heinz, this is a successful PR campaign with great media response.

– This article was written by Simon Herrmann, Account Manager at HBI

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