Breaking Traditions: Gen Z and Millennial Women Transform Super Bowl

How brands can ensure women are engaged and represented meaningfully during the Big Game and beyond

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Women have always watched the Super Bowl, with Nielsen reporting that in 2018, women made up nearly half of Super Bowl viewers—surpassing the combined female viewership of the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys.

Brands, marketers and the NFL have begun to embrace female perspectives as part of the football discourse. However, the Taylor Swift Effect has amplified this trend, with 56% of Swifties being Gen Z and millennial women, paving the way for a younger generation of female football fans.

Now, marketers are engaged in genuine conversations about how to prioritize this influential audience. The real question is: How do brands ensure that young women are being represented in a meaningful way, not just during the Super Bowl but also in the wider realm of sports culture, now and in the future?

The answer lies in authentic and inclusive strategies that tap into the interests and values of young women.

Team up with inspiring creators

It’s important that brands partner with women content creators who bring a fresh perspective to the world of football.

Kristin Juszczyk recently set TikTok ablaze with her custom-designed Kelce jacket debuted by Taylor Swift, generating a staggering 20 million views. It was no coincidence that on the same day, the NFL TikTok account got 19.7 million views, with 40% of those impressions revolving around fashion-related content.

Women creators not only fuel conversation but also inspire other women to join in. By embracing the creativity and influence of content creators, brands can tap into the women in the football audience through fashion and beyond, building engagement and contributing to conversations that authentically add value.

Get ready with them

The intersection of Super Bowl, fashion and beauty is having a moment.

On social, there is a plethora of new content ranging from outfit ideas to tips on styling sports jerseys and even weather reports guiding female fans on game day attire. From Super Bowl fashion trends to game-day GRWMs (Get Ready With Me) and makeup tutorials, social content is transforming the Super Bowl into an event that resonates more deeply with female viewers.

Beauty brands like NYX and e.l.f. are pioneering this trend, catering to Gen Z and millennial women by launching football-inspired product collections during live Super Bowl spots this year, while generating excitement within their fanbase through supporting teaser content on TikTok and Instagram.

This strategic intersection of beauty, fashion and lifestyle trends not only captures attention but also aligns with the evolving interests of these viewers, contributing to a more inclusive and engaging game day experience.

Speak up on the convos that matter

Super Bowl advertisers are entering an era where female consumers are no longer just a checkbox in diversity and inclusion efforts; they are rightfully becoming integral to marketing strategies.

Marketers can take a pivotal step forward by actively engaging in conversations that champion gender equity and inclusivity within the context of sports in their branded content. Taking part in social campaigns and partnerships that encourage participation from fans, athletes and influencers holds the power to deeply resonate, particularly among younger generations who prioritize these values.

A noteworthy example is Dove’s #KeepHerConfident campaign, which brings attention to the alarming statistic that 45% of girls drop out of sports due to low body confidence. Through strategic partnerships with female athletes like Venus Williams and Ali Krieger, and the launch of an impactful video campaign on TikTok and Instagram, Dove effectively amplifies this message across its social media channels, raising awareness about the significance of nurturing women’s self-confidence in sports from a young age.

This powerful initiative underscores the brand’s dedication to championing gender equality and inspires positive change and thoughtful discussion on social media and within the sports industry.

Pivot to the right platforms

A noteworthy shift is underway among advertisers and users as they pivot away from X toward platforms where Gen Z and millennial women thrive. Notably, TikTok and Instagram are the primary arenas where women-led trends and conversations are finding new life.

According to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence, a considerable portion of Gen Z spend time on Instagram (75%) and TikTok (69%), making them priority platforms for engagement. For marketers aiming to connect with this influential audience, the key lies in prioritizing video content on these platforms and developing social media strategies agile enough to respond to real-time emerging game conversations. These platforms offer fertile ground to amplify women-driven topics, reach broader audiences and engage young women authentically.

Choose the right moment

In today’s digital era, connecting with Gen Z and millennial women during the Super Bowl hinges on more than just crafting compelling content—it also depends on understanding their sentiments, interests and live discussions during and after the game.

This is where social listening comes into play, and it deserves a prominent place in sports marketing strategies. Whether it’s a big play, a memorable halftime show or a game-stopping commercial, this data-driven approach enables brands to strategically tailor content that aligns with current conversations.

Rihanna’s 2023 Super Bowl halftime show became a viral sensation after she revealed a Fenty Beauty compact mid-performance, instantly captivating female viewers on social media. Identifying such cultural moments is vital for crafting real-time content that resonates with this audience.

To succeed, content must seamlessly integrate with trending topics while staying true to a brand’s identity. As the female audience evolves, so does culture, requiring brands to evolve alongside it to authentically contribute to the conversation.

Women have always watched the Super Bowl

Is the the Taylor Swift Effect making a genuine impact, or have women simply been undervalued in a space they’ve always cared about?

The conversation around recognizing and involving women in the Super Bowl is not just a passing trend; it represents a significant shift toward inclusivity, opening doors for meaningful connections and driving positive change during this cultural moment. It’s a crucial step toward ensuring that women have a voice not only during the Super Bowl but in broader sports culture throughout the year, breaking traditions and promoting diversity in traditionally male-dominated spaces.

As a woman who has typically placed less emphasis on the game itself and more on the surrounding experiences and conversations, I find myself more engaged than ever. It will be exciting to witness the input from brands, discussions within social media and the impact this has on women in the future of Super Bowl marketing, the sports industry and beyond.