The Super Bowl really isn’t about football anymore. Yes, sure, the actual 60 minutes played on the first Sunday in February is. But everything else associated with the name is about business.
Super Bowl ads, for instance, are as talked about the day after the game as the big game itself. Sometimes more, if it’s a blowout. And while it’d be great if your company could afford $4 million for a 30-second spot, chances are that’s just slightly out of your price range.
But those kinds of advertisements aren’t necessary to capitalize on the big game. Heck, you don’t even need to run a business - like a sports bar or restaurant - that would logically cater to the event. Here are some ways you can tie your business into the big game without shelling out 7 figures for advertising.
First, Some Tips
You ever wonder why every radio ad you hear promoting something for the Super Bowl calls it their ‘Big Game Special.” Or, if you’re Chipotle, their “The Super Big Internationally Televised Professional Bowl Game” special? It’s because the NFL polices that name like Disney polices cartoons of Mickey Mouse. And a league that tells ESPN what to do won’t even blink at possible bad PR for suing your tiny business for copyright infringement.
What we’re saying is: Don’t use the words “Super Bowl.” Get creative like Chipotle did, or just say “Big Game.”
Second, make sure your promotion is about your brand, not about the game. While the Patriots or Cowboys or Seahawks or whoever’s playing in the game probably appreciates your promoting them, people know that brand already. So while a tie-in to the game is great, making people remember the Super Bowl and not your business is not.
And Now, Some Ideas
- Be the anti- “Big Game” - Yes, it seems like half the country is watching the game. But that also means half the country has nothing to do while the other half is watching. And, as it seems, that half tends to skew towards females. If you have a business that caters to primarily women, offer up a special on haircuts, aesthetics, retail shopping or even car tune-ups during the game. Or, if your bar or restaurant has a non-football clientele, offer a relaxed drinking environment with absolutely no football.
- Throw an after-party - This doesn’t mean bring in Pitbull and a flock of backup dancers to keep the party going until 6 in the morning. It doesn’t even mean throwing a “party” necessarily. Sure, offering post-game dinner and drink specials is great, but your “after party” can also be a special deal tied into the game. Like all clothes in the losing team’s colors at 35 percent off. Or discounts for your business’ products or services tied into the final score.
- Branded party favors - If you give out free, branded napkins, paper cups or beer cozies within one week of the Super Bowl, they will 100 percent be used by every person who’s throwing a game day party. And also, every person who doesn’t know what to bring to said party and just shows up like “Hey! I brought napkins!” Though it’s up to you whether or not you really want to be associated with that guy.
- Set up a QR code or SMS special - The special itself isn’t all that important. It can be a small discount on food or drinks during the game, 10 percent off an oil change, or a free estimate if it’s done before the game. The important part here is getting information like names, emails and phone numbers from interested customers so you can use it for marketing all year.
- Offer something insane - Entrepreneur told the story of a Baltimore furniture maker who offered a refund for all furniture sold during the week of the big game if his hometown Ravens scored a 2-point conversion. And lo and behold, they did and the business got a ton of free publicity. And while you may want to pick something a little more unusual, whatever you pick, remember to take out an insurance policy on the promotion. You absolutely must do that or risk a fatal financial hit.
- Take advantage of halftime - Because Katy Perry can’t be expected to rush through such artistic works as “California Gurls” and “Roar,” the NFL has extended its usual 12-minute halftime to 30 minutes. Which means people who don’t want to listen to Katy Perry have half an hour to do something else. Offer up a special 30-minute insanity sale, where products, drinks, food-to-go, cheap dry cleaning or whatever it is you do are deeply discounted for that time only. Alternately, if you’re a bar or restaurant, offer up an open mic or a local band that promises not to cover “Firework.”
- Give incentives to come back for the game - You’ve got a couple weeks before the game, right? You’ve got customers coming in now, right? Make them feel appreciated by giving them “valued customer” game. You’ll probably boost your business that day and improve customer loyalty at the same time.
- Make your own commercial - Then air it on your social media platforms. If you make it good, like viral hit good, people may remember it more than the ones Budweiser paid $4 million for. Just remember, do NOT use the term “Super Bowl” in your ad!