Dozens of companies have paid $4 million apiece so their 30-second commercials will be aired during the Super Bowl. But other brands and products are bound to get plenty of attention during the Super Bowl buildup simply due to who is playing in the game.
Super Bowl advertisers obviously hope for a good game on February 2, to maximize the number of people who will see the commercial they’ve paid big bucks for. Advertisers probably don’t care too much about which specific teams are playing, however. As long as the masses tune in and absorb the messages sent over the airwaves during commercial breaks, the advertisers should be happy.
On the other hand, there are some companies, products, services, and brands that stand to draw extra attention without necessarily paying steep Super Bowl ad rates. Instead, they’re benefiting thanks to their associations with the players and hometowns of the teams featured in the game. Here are six examples:
Beats by Dre
Thanks to his shocking trash-talking rant after his team beat the 49ers on Sunday, Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman has been the most talked-about, most Tweeted-about Super Bowl-bound player for days. The focus on Sherman is sure to be terrific for Beats by Dre headphones, which just so happen to feature Sherman discussing trash talk and his reputation as a thug in a new commercial.
Among other nicknames, this year’s Super Bowl is being dubbed “Weed Bowl,” the “Chronic Bowl,” the “Stoner Bowl,” the elaborate “Super Oobie Doobie Bowl,” and the just plain old “Marijuana Bowl.” It’s all because the two teams playing in the Super Bowl happen to come from the two states that have legalized the recreational sale and use of cannabis. Jay Leno even mentioned the “whole new meaning to the term Super Bowl” in a recent monologue. The coincidence is sure to continue being mentioned—and continue to bring attention to Colorado, Washington, pot, and the marijuana legalization movement as a whole—now through Super Bowl Sunday.
While an endorsement deal has made the Microsoft Surface the “official tablet of the NFL,” Microsoft is associated in particular with the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, they’re both based in the greater Seattle area, but the relationship goes beyond that. As the Seattle Times recently noted, the Seahawks’ success this season has been good for more than just the football team; “it’s also been a boon to another big local name: Microsoft.” Among other things, Microsoft’s Bing search engine sponsored the Seahawks training camp, when player jerseys prominently displayed the Bing logo. The Seahawks Radio Network has been branded as the Bing Radio Network, and Microsoft—and, for that matter, Starbucks—are sure to be mentioned in the endless profiles of Seahawks players, coaches, and the team as a whole during the buildup to the game.
Omaha, Omaha Steaks
Denver Broncos quarterback and certain Hall of Famer Peyton Manning habitually hollers “Omaha” dozens of times at the line of scrimmage in the course of a game. The call has nothing to do with the city in Nebraska, but Omaha nonetheless is happy to get the attention. Manning’s “Omaha” generated national attention when he uttered the word 44 times during Denver’s playoff defeat of the San Diego Chargers over a week ago. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce told ESPN that thanks to Peyton’s penchant for yelling “Omaha” to call audibles or confuse the defense in games, “news coverage of Omaha had generated the equivalent of about $10 million in advertising.”
Last Sunday, there were 31 “Omahas” in the course of the Broncos 26-16 victory over the New England Patriots. Before the game began, Omaha-based businesses had decided to thank Manning for all the publicity by donating $800 for each “Omaha.” They wound up giving $24,800 to Manning’s Peyback Foundation. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium even named a newly born penguin Peyton in homage to the “Omaha”-shouting quarterback.
The Omaha Steaks company has also gotten its brand on people’s minds thanks to Manning’s Omaha-mania. “Omaha Steaks is always looking for awesome promotional opportunities that get our brand in front of customers and potential customers,” an executive said to ESPN. “Omaha Steaks would consider a deal with Mr. Manning, especially given his apparent affinity for Omaha.”
Even without an Omaha Steaks partnership, Peyton Manning is the NFL’s endorsement king, reaping a total of $12 million last year in sponsorships. Obviously, all of the brands associated with Peyton Manning—including DirecTV, Oreos, and MasterCard—are overjoyed their guy is the marquee quarterback in the biggest game of the year. Arguably no Manning sponsor is as excited as Papa John’s, however. Manning is Papa John’s poster boy and best-known spokesperson; he even owns nearly two dozen Papa John’s restaurants. There’s a good chance viewers associate Papa John’s more with Manning than they do with company founder and CEO “Pap” John Schnatter, who often shares the spotlight with Manning in countless TV commercials.
Citing experts from Kantar Media, an AdAge report estimates that Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch’s well-documented love of Skittles could be worth $5 million to $7 million in exposure for the brand, now that his team is in the Super Bowl. When Lynch was a boy, his mother used to dole out the candy to him and his teammates as rewards and for extra energy. Lynch continued scarfing down Skittles during his college playing days at Cal, and Seattle fans have taken the meme and run with it, showering Lynch and the offense with Skittles when they score a touchdown.
It helps that Seahawks fans don’t have to bring their own Skittles to games. A bag of Skittles is included with the Lynch-inspired “Beast Burger” sold at Seattle home games.