What Did the Super Bowl Teach Us About Brand Influence?

Brands as far apart in their content strategies as PETA and Disney all scored big wins with their posts about or during #SB49


Brands who succeed on social media are as varied as the fans of the Patriots and the Seahawks. Brands as far apart in their content strategies as PETA and Disney all scored big wins with their posts about or during #SB49.

Although the brands that succeeded had stark differences, there were some universal keys for success that brands can utilize in their future social media marketing strategies. For a start, even if they were not official advertisers, brands were able to craft content relevant to the Super Bowl that resonated across social media channels (perhaps trying to replicate the success of Oreo in the recent past).

Some content strategies were simple, such as Verizon Wireless dominating engagement by sending a message of congratulations to the #SB49 winners, the New England Patriots. Others were more complex, such as the complicated but smartly crafted DiGiorno Pizza tweet (see below).

(1) It’s a good idea to reference culturally relevant topics

Brands made a special effort to keep on top of the events that happened during and in anticipation of the Super Bowl, referencing everything from the now-infamous Deflategate to the well-received halftime show.

PETA, known for posting provocative content, scored a big win by referencing the Super Bowl Half-Time show featuring Katy Perry. The post, which was in a similar vein of other recent PETA posts, combined elements from Katy Perry’s set with familiar calls to action.

image1DiGiorno Pizza also used the moment (and the fact that people typically consume Pizza during the Super Bowl) to score a big win on Twitter.


This Tweet not only humorously poked fun at competitor (delivery) pizza chains, but it also made sure to reference that their own frozen pizza was a better option to eat in time for the game.

(2) If you’ve got it, flaunt it: Posting your content or teasers is always a good idea.

Everyone wants to get a sneak preview of the commercials, something that in recent years have become as big as the game itself.

Coca-Cola scored a huge win on social by posting an 8 second teaser clip from their ad. Although it didn’t specifically reference the Super Bowl, it referenced the content and excited fans, to drive viewing of the full spot during the game.


Doritos used the same strategy to great effect, utilizing Twitter Video to post their ad, featuring a “Puppy Daddy” reuniting with his son. This post scored the top spot of all brands across Twitter by branded engagement.


(3) Creative wordplay coupled with relevant, brand-appropriate media is a winning strategy.

As the only brand to make the Top 5 on Facebook and Twitter, Disney scored huge wins with their posts that used a clever play-on-words to avoid directly referencing the “Big Game.”


This post on Facebook, with over 1 million video views on Facebook, is a prime example. This not only references the Super Bowl without explicitly stating it, but it also adds in the extra element about the Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s alternative entertainment programming.


This Tweet does much the same thing as the Facebook post: reference the “super bowl”, but not make the explicit connection between the two. (It also creates a great tie-in with Ratatouille, a Disney Pixar favorite for many years).

This strategy, which flawlessly integrates Disney’s Animated content with “Super Bowl” references is no doubt a winning strategy employed by other successful brands. (Doritos did something similar by referencing deflategate in conjunction with an empty or ‘deflated’ bag of Doritos).


Brands who use the Super Bowl to engage their audiences come in all shapes and sizes, but there are definitely some consistent strategies that can lead to a successful plan. The best advice seems to be: keep it simple, but tie it back to your brands’ message.

Tania Yuki is founder and CEO of Shareablee, a leading provider of social content analytics for business. She has spent most of her career in digital marketing, measurement and analytics, and was recently honored with a Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation and featured in Fast Company and Forbes as one of 12 women driving digital in New York.