An advertising take on throwing the best Super Bowl party.

By Jen Mathis SVP, Group Media Director

Good parties take planning. For the average party host celebrating the NFL’s Big Game, this might mean adding a little extra cream cheese in the buffalo chicken dip. But for those in the advertising world, who have been thinking about this year’s game since the day after last year’s, there are ways to ensure that you are throwing the best party (a.k.a campaign) for your clients.

First, ask if you should be throwing a party in the first place.

Just like understanding what party guests want, advertisers must understand what their target market wants. The lead up to the game can be a noisy time. It seems like every brand, even those not advertising in the game, now capitalizes on the event and competes for consumer attention.

But for brands that want to be part of a real, IRL party, here’s what consumers are showing us via their online searches:

48% of consumers say they want to “throw a great party”[1]

For one of our CPG clients, this important information helps us decide if a brand can make meaningful contributions to conversations around the Big Game. The information represents both a consumer problem (they need help throwing a “great” party of which food plays a major role) and a planned action (64% of consumers plan on making a specific shopping run for party preparation).[2]

So, yes, we are throwing a party. The next step: dig deeper to find the right time, best message(s) and medium(s) to reach these consumers.


Timing is crucial. You don’t want to send out your invites too soon because people aren’t ready to make a decision (i.e. they are still worrying about their 48-hour hangover from NYE), but you also don’t want to wait too long or you risk them having other plans.

Again, through our use of search trend data and social listening, we were able to uncover the most relevant times to connect with Big Game party planners.

  • Google trends showed that immediately following the NFL Conference Championships consumers start searching for Super Bowl party planning terms. And better yet for our client, Super Bowl party food is the #5 top searched term when prepping for the party which proved how important food was to the overall party experience.
  • Social listening showed similar trends, with conversations around party planning spiking in mid-January and food as a strong element of the conversation with “Great spreads” being the number one conversation around party planners and attendees.[3]

With this data, we knew the right time to send out invites (aka start their media plan) was a few days prior to the Conference Championships.

Guest list

Ah, the age-old question: who should you invite to have the perfect party balance? In a perfect world, you would obviously want to invite everyone but let’s be real – you can’t afford to feed 100 people and you only have one TV! Should you waste an invite on someone you don’t think will show or even worse, won’t have fun?

You need to ensure that you are putting the right amount of spend toward consumers that will provide a ROI. Through consumer media usage trends and analyzing digital behavior data, we identified three key touchpoints leading up to the game.

65% of Big Game viewers expected to interact with brands on social media[4]

  1. Social Media
    • Facebook & Instagram – In 2018, 64 million consumers joined the conversation on Facebook with 240 million interactions while 44 million were on Instagram with 150 million interactions. These platforms also have targeting capabilities to reach a relevant audience.[5]
    • YouTube – Big Game ads see 1B views and 400K uploads. Highlights of the game and the halftime show see 300M views and 40K uploads and party planning including food recipes, decoration and party parodies see 200M views and 100K uploads.[6]
  2. Streaming Audio – This less-crowded market provides a scalable way to reach the audience. In 2018, 77% of all internet users listen to digital audio and within this space, 69% of internet users have used Spotify and/or Pandora in the past month.[7]
  3. But that’s not all! By including cross-screen Programmatic Video in the plan, there is further opportunity to connect with consumers using behavioral, contextual and search targeting focused around party foods, recipes and ideas.

How to ensure the party is a success

How can you get them to show up? Social media reminders? Emails? Or, do you have other people—confirmed attendees—talk to your unconfirmed invitees and seed FOMO?

There is one thing more embarrassing than throwing a party and no one showing up – a campaign that is a flop and all-around waste of money and time. To avoid that, advertisers also have to strategically make sure it will be a success. For our client, we came up with a few simple rules:

  1. Connect with a relevant consumer no more than an average of 2X per week during the campaign on any one platform as to not annoy them with the same piece of content over and over.
  2. Maximize the unique reach within each tactic to reach more of the relevant audience to create greater business impact.

So, there you have it, the recipe to throwing the best Super Bowl party for a brand. And, as always, make sure to go back after the event to measure the results and review success. Then, it’s time to get ready for next year.


[1] MediaPost, January 2017

[2] MediaPost, January 2017

[3] Crimson Hexagon

[4] Adweek, February 2018

[5] Facebook for Media, February 2018

[6] YouTube data

[7] eMarketer, November 2018

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