Maximizing Impact: Harnessing the Power of Big Game Commercials for Brand Success

The most exciting football game of the year has more draw than just the football. We all know that the commercials that play during the Big Game will be discussed the next day and the companies that produce them spend millions of dollars just to get the TV spot.

Vast portions of companies’ marketing budgets go toward this one commercial. But what makes that a wise choice?

What Makes Commercials During the Big Game So Special

Why are companies willing to spend so much money for a 30-second ad spot during the Big Game? Simply put, it’s one of the most-watched programs of the year. It’s an effective way to reach hundreds of millions of viewers and potential consumers.

In 2023, over 110 million people gathered around to watch the final football game of the season. This year saw an even higher number of viewers, with 123.4 million people tuning in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play against the San Francisco 49ers, setting a record high.

Interestingly, that’s only part of the reason advertisers make their presence known during the Big Game. Companies like to show off and compete against each other. This is a prime time for companies to show off their creativity, innovation and large advertising budget.

Trends in the Commercials of the Big Game

With such a large audience, companies also spend a lot of money on commercial development to create a memorable ad that makes you feel something. As ads played during the game, you probably noticed this and a few other trends across the board.

  1. Celebrity Endorsements
  2. Nostalgia Marketing
  3. Product Launches and Teasers
  4. Cross-Platform Storytelling

1. Celebrity Endorsements

Almost every ad this year featured at least one celebrity, with many featuring a whole crew of famous figures. Brands often leverage the star power of celebrities in their Big Game ads to create buzz and connect with audiences.

It originated to help an ad stand out and engage people, but now it’s almost a requirement. For a company’s ad to stand out, it requires a star-studded cast.

2. Nostalgia Marketing

People respond well to things from their childhoods, counting on happy memories to engage viewers and help associate the brand with these positive emotions. Capturing on the nostalgia linked with the past, you may have noticed certain colors, messages, themes and pop culture references in recent ads.

3. Product Launches and Teasers

Watching the commercials of the Big Game, in addition to the star-studded and nostalgia-ridden ads, you probably noticed the large volume of movie trailers. You may have also spotted a few product launches.

With so many eyes watching, companies take the opportunity to announce new products or campaigns. The event's timing, early in the year, makes it an ideal platform for kicking off strategies and plans for the year.

Between a new flavor of Reese’s, upcoming blockbusters and Temu’s launch in 2023, viewers are watching and they are talking.

4. Cross-Platform Storytelling

Many commercials might be part of a larger narrative that spans various media platforms, creating a more immersive experience. The ad spot during the Big Game is costly; many other advertising methods aren’t nearly as expensive. For more bang for their buck, companies can reuse elements from their Big Game commercial and use it elsewhere. This could include QR codes during the commercial, ad trailers before its release and integration on social media.

Using multiple platforms to tell the same story will offer greater reach for the ad and a deeper emotional connection, giving you more opportunities to become invested in the narrative they’re sharing. This effect leads to a greater gain than a 30-second commercial would offer.

The Best Commercials from 2024’s Big Game

If you were at a party to watch the Big Game with your friends and family, you probably saw many commercials that played between the touchdowns and flags of the football game. On a good year, you’re not sure if you’re there for the football or the commercials – or the snacks.

Dunkin Donuts’s “The DunKings”

For 2024’s Big Game, Dunkin Donuts played off of an ad from the year before. Bringing together a star-studded group of Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon and Tom Brady, Dunkin announced a new product they would begin serving.

This ad used humor to get its message across. With so many well-known and liked celebrities, people were poised to laugh and remember the ad the next day to talk about it around the water cooler.

State Farm’s “Like a Good Neighbaaa”

In this ad, State Farm's ad utilizes Arnold Schwarzenegger in what was described as his best action film role in decades. State Farm pulls heavily on nostalgia and celebrity endorsements using Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous accent and line “Get to the Choppa” to maintain recognition of its brand and slogan.

Releasing the ad with a trailer leading up to the big event allowed State Farm to begin telling this story sooner as well as get more from the ad. It also allowed viewers to see what changed as the trailer told them more was coming, offering an additional opportunity to stick in people’s minds. What came was further nostalgia and another celebrity endorsement – in the form of Danny DeVito.

Verizon’s “Can’t B Broken”

When Beyonce is involved, you can trust that people will be paying attention. This celebrity endorsement utilized Beyonce’s popularity to tell their message, showcasing the reliability of their phone service.

Kia’s “Perfect 10”

Kia’s ad slot pulled on viewers' heartstrings to showcase the Kia EV9. Telling the story of a young girl and her relationship with her grandfather, Kia highlighted the abilities of their new electric vehicle while bringing tears to some eyes. This story played on their slogan “Movement that inspires” as the girl is an ice skater and that is a central element.

BMW’s “Talkin’ Like Walken”

Halftime performer Usher and Christopher Walken team up in this ad for BMW’s next generation of cars – where everybody is talking like Walken. This commercial captures humor in a way that viewers can easily relate to as they try their own impressions. The humorous exchanges allow viewers to take in BMW’s message on the uniqueness of their first electric vehicle.

Smaller Companies Advertising During the Big Game

While it costs over $200,000 per second for an ad slot during the big game, smaller companies can still leverage the massive audience to advertise their brands, services and products.

For a lower price, your business can purchase local ad slots, allowing you to reach the audience in your area at a price your company can afford. This puts you in front of engaged people directly in your target market.

This is also a great time to utilize social media, posting relevant and timely content that can capture people watching the Big Game and checking their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook throughout. If you’re able to latch onto exciting and memorable moments from the event, you can continue to capture attention even after the final scores are in.

Smaller companies can capitalize on the Big Game's advertising opportunities within a more manageable budget by being creative, timely and engaging.

Market with Creative in 2024

This is your sign to focus on creative marketing this year. Cutting-edge ads don’t have to be relegated to the Big Game or Fortune 500 companies with hundreds of millions of dollars and a marketing department.

Count on a team of reliable marketing professionals to help you create a marketing plan in your budget to get the attention of your target market year-round. Contact 360 PSG to learn more about how we can transform your marketing.