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What the Super Bowl Can Teach You About Marketing Your Small Business

The two top teams in the NFL this season, The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, recently played off in the Super Bowl, with The Chiefs, featuring Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, victorious in overtime.  

You might be wondering – “What does the Super Bowl have to do with business, Tahryn?”

Well, the Super Bowl is also the advertising event of the year, and the Super Bowl ads have become almost as famous as the Super Bowl itself. It’s sometimes easy to forget there’s a football game being played. 

Brands go head to head to capture attention and make their ads the most memorable. They also pay the big bucks to be featured during the game – with a 30-second spot being a cool 7 million dollars. So they want to make sure they maximise their exposure!

You might not quite have the same budget for your marketing campaigns – but there’s plenty you can learn from the Super Bowl marketing.

In this episode of the How I Do Content Podcast, I shared the key takeaways from Super Bowl marketing, and how to apply these as strategies to market your own business, regardless of your budget.

What the Super Bowl Can Teach You About Marketing Your Small Business

4 Lessons on Marketing from the Super Bowl

1. Score a touchdown with storytelling 

The best ads ALWAYS nail storytelling. Audiences don’t want to feel like they’re always being sold to – they want stories that draw them in and resonate on a deeper level.

They want to feel SEEN, HEARD & UNDERSTOOD.

By telling compelling stories, you create an emotional connection with your audience and make your brand more memorable to them. 

And once your audience has formed that connection with your brand they then feel more compelled to invest in your products or services – it pays to get the creative and messaging right! 

And it’s not just an opportunity to make sales – the businesses that leverage storytelling are also reinforcing brand values and building loyal customer relationships.

The impact of storytelling is also confirmed by science because humans are far more likely to remember information if it’s delivered in a narrative than as a list of facts.

If you want your business to stand out in the minds of your audience – tell more stories.   

2. Sometimes the best play is a simple one.

Simple is always best especially when it comes to marketing.

Now this doesn’t mean the Super Bowl ads aren’t creative – because they are! 

But the most effective ads are those that are easily understood by the audience. You watch them and know exactly who the brand is, what they stand for, and what they’re selling.

If you confuse your audience, you lose, so don’t go overboard trying to get your message across, or try and make it so complicated your audience needs a PhD to understand what you’re trying to do.

Once you do that – you lose the attention of your audience. 

Simple messaging. Simple delivery.

Works every time. 

3. Score BIG by maximising your marketing efforts 

Every play counts, so brands want to maximise their marketing efforts BEYOND their 30-second spot during the game. 

If you’re spending $7 million, you’d want to get the absolute most out of it! This is why they don’t simply rely on the 30-second ad to do all the work for them.

Utilise Multiple Marketing Platforms

I never understand why people put their time and resources into creating marketing, and then only share it on social media! 

It would be a HUGE waste of $7 million if brands didn’t take the time to share their work across all their marketing channels. 

And not just that – the Super Bowl ads are even more effective if the hype is built before the game AND the brand has a post-event strategy to translate awareness into engagement, and ultimately sales. 

This is why many brands release teasers leading up to the Super Bowl to build excitement and anticipation. One of my favourite ads from Super Bowl 58 – the UberEats ad with David & Victoria Beckham – dropped a snippet a few days before the game, and I saw it shared many times.

Think Big to Generate Excitement

According to the Los Angeles Times, the commercials uploaded on YouTube before the game are viewed 2.5 times more than ads that debut on game day. As a result, brands have started amplifying the scale of their game-day ad, creating entire integrated campaigns around them.

There are so many opportunities to build genuine excitement within your community AND lead them to the ultimate goal of buying from you – if you zoom out and think BIG PICTURE.

Imagine spending 7 million dollars, then simply sitting back and hoping people see your marketing.

4. Cute dogs make you a fan favourite 

When in doubt – add a cute dog (or two) to your marketing mix.

Now I say this kinda jokingly – but also not really.

I’ve built my business around my four-legged bestie, and Super Bowl ads that feature adorable animals are always fan favourites.

It’s a point of connection with fellow animal lovers and a simple way to turn a viewer into a customer. 

I know Ned is the star of the show here at The Social Bolt and he’s usually the reason people find me, follow me and connect with me – and I ain’t mad about it! 

So there you have it: 4 lessons you can take away from Super Bowl marketing.

My favourite Super Bowl ad from this year

If you’re wondering, my favourite Super Bowl ad from this year was obviously Queen Beyoncé for Verizon.

I mean, talk about breaking the internet! Not only is she being paid to star in the ad, but she harnessed that excitement, hype, and audience to drop new music and send everyone into a frenzy. 

And let me tell you, I’ve never moved so fast to Spotify – Beyoncé really said, “What Super Bowl?” 

According to data from Dash Hudson, Beyoncé’s 2.25 million engagements on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter on Super Bowl night ranked ahead of both Usher (1.71 million) and Taylor Swift (1.41 million).

Speaking of Taylor Swift, I need to mention…

The Taylor Swift Effect on the Super Bowl

Ratings for the Super Bowl were up this year, and you’d have to be a tiny insecure little man if you said it wasn’t because of Taylor Swift. 

The stats don’t lie – five million more female viewers tuned in for the game than last year.

This has resulted in more brands tapping into this new audience, with campaigns directed at the increasing female viewership over this season.  

Brands such as Cetaphil, NYX, e.l.f, and Dove all aired ads focused on female fans – it’s a testament to the NFL’s changing fanbase and something I think we’ll continue to see more of into next season and beyond.

What the Super Bowl Can Teach You About Marketing Your Small Business

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Content & launch wizard, business coach, podcaster & your new teacher

Combining my love of writing and degree in marketing, my services are designed specifically to support businesses (like yours) with their online strategy and content must-haves


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