How Brands Leverage Digital Advertising To Give Their 2023 Super Bowl Ad Extra Yards

I enjoy watching football and consider myself semi-knowledgeable about the sport (cough cough, 2021 Granular Fantasy Football Champion talking here) but I couldn’t have cared less who won the Super Bowl this year. So, if you’re anything like me, you watched the Super Bowl for one or all of these three reasons:

#1 – The Snacks

#3 – Rihanna

#2 – The Ads

Now, I could write a blog on all the tasty snacks I ate during the game and rate them 0-10 on a “Did they give me heartburn scale” or a blog on Rihanna’s AMAZING half-time show, but since I don’t work in the culinary or entertainment industry, I’m going to focus this blog on #2: The Ads.

Fox announced the cost of a 30-second ad spot was a record-breaking $7 million. Yes, this is absolutely a crazy amount of money. But brands have found these spots to be of high value because, not only are they guaranteed millions of impressions, but they also have the opportunity to generate buzz before and after the ad that can increase overall brand lift and market share.

When you pair your tv ad spot with a strong digital strategy, you can really give your campaign some legs and give your brand lift far longer than your 30-second ad spot. Let’s dive into the brands I thought did the best job pairing up their Super Bowl ad spot with a digital marketing strategy.

Pregame Winner: M&Ms

M&Ms did a great job of using digital to create buzz prior to the Super Bowl by capitalizing on the outrage that was sparked around their candies’ appearance change. Several weeks ago, they publicly announced they are taking “an indefinite pause from the spokescandies” and switching to Maya Rudolph. This announcement sparked controversy and got people talking (exactly what a good Super Bowl ad should do).

Check out this Google Search Trends results on “M&Ms” where you can see a clear search spike in January.

clear search spike in January.

On top of creating this buzz and getting picked up by thousands of news stations, M&Ms also released creative assets across their digital platforms:

This banner image is immediately shown after clicking on a M&M search ad.

This banner image is immediately shown after clicking on a M&M search ad.

The company changed its Facebook profile and cover photos to Maya.

Facebook profile and cover photos to Maya

And they went as far as to release several social ads announcing the change.

several social ads announcing the change
several social ads announcing the change

I would have loved to see a better TV ad spot for M&Ms. The ad itself wasn’t nearly as funny or entertaining as I thought it could’ve been with Maya Rudolph as the lead spokeswoman and I really didn’t understand the whole “candy calms” reference. However, even though the ad wasn’t my favorite, because of the digital work the team put in prior to launch, I think M&Ms will still see a brand lift, and I’m impressed with their digital efforts.

Gametime Winner: Miller/Coors

Anheuser-Busch released their exclusivity rights, so this was the first time in at least 30 years that we saw a Miller Light, Coors Light (or Blue Moon) Super Bowl ad.

Instead of pre-releasing their Super Bowl ad, which has started to become a common practice of most brands, Molson Coors partnered with DraftKings prior to the game to launch a campaign that encouraged viewers to bet on which beer brand they thought would win an epic Super Bowl ad battle along with some other prop bets related to the ad.

To sweeten the deal, DraftKings offered a $500K pool to the fans who correctly predicted the details of the “high-stakes beer ad.” Over 257K people signed up for their chance to win.

To promote their campaign prior to the game, Miller and Coors leveraged multiple social media platforms and took out a full-page ad in the NYTimes.

coors ad before super bowl
Coors ads leading up to super bowl

This campaign was very creative, and I absolutely loved the twist ending. With online sports betting getting bigger and bigger I predict that we will start to see more of these “live ad bets” in the future.

Post-Game Winner: Planters Peanuts

The Peanuts brand has become an iconic Super Bowl advertiser that millions of Americans look forward to seeing each year. This year instead of attending Mr. Peanut’s funeral, Planters challenged Americans to go online to “roast him.”

Prior to the ad spot, Planters ran several social media ad campaigns teasing the big roast.

Mr Peanut Roast

When the ad went live on Sunday, it included a QR code that took users directly to the Roast landing page where they had the opportunity to submit a roast. Additionally, the company ran Search ads to help users find the page if they didn’t use the code (very smart).

mr peanut search ad

Planters then announced that the winners of the Roast will be announced on their social challenges, which encourages users to follow them.

The one suggestion I would have made to give this ad more digital lift was to add pixels to their Roast Website, so they could retarget the people who visited the site but may not have submitted a roast.

peanut roast missing pixel

It’s A Wrap:

Overall, I thought there were a ton of brands that did a great job incorporating a digital ads strategy with their Super Bowl TV spot. I know I enjoyed watching all the ads this year and looking forward to the next!