Six ways to break into the Super Bowl without being in-game.

By Claudia Bahera, Senior Buyer, Strategic Audio Video Investment

As the pandemic surges on, this year’s Super Bowl will have significantly fewer fans in the stands and in-person events. For advertisers, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We may even have more opportunities to connect with football fans and the playing field is a little more level for brands with varying budget realities. So, with about two weeks until the game, there’s still time to review your Super Bowl plan and act strategically.

Whether you have a spot in the big game or not, here are six ways you can engage with fans this year for any budget:  

  1. Buy CBS programming around the game: With a full day of high-profile programming, from the launch of The Equalizer with Queen Latifah or a special edition of The Late Show with Steven Colbert, there are plenty of opportunities within the TV space to get your message out to a large audience that are not in-game.
  2. Explore CBS Sports HQ: With the increased online usage of consumers during COVID-19, CBS Sports has expanded their offering to include additional content on their streaming channel CBS SPORTS HQ. This provides a great opportunity for brands to be within the Super Bowl conversation but taking into account the increased digital presence of fans during the game this year.
  3. Expand across the full ViacomCBS portfolio: With last year’s ViacomCBS merger, there are now more options for programming, and the whole portfolio will make a big push to promote their largest event of the year. Comedy Central, Country Music Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount are all helping cross-promote the Super Bowl with special programs and sports segments at lower cable costs. They also have their on-air talent ready to help with sponsored social influencer posts throughout the week and online portals to help people prepare for the game, including recipes, fun for families, and digital tailgating events. There’s something for everyone.
  4. Leverage social to engage with fans: The Super Bowl has always been one of the largest social conversations, but with an increase in fans watching from home this year there’s a greater opportunity to leverage the space to connect with your target. Fans are craving interactivity so create ways to interact such as quizzes and polls or chatbots and Artificial Reality (AR) custom filters to bring viewers into the action.
  5. Drive awareness in daytime: According to Nielsen, daytime has become the second primetime. Consider airing your “Super Bowl” spot earlier in the week or the week after the game during daytime hours. Viewing patterns have changed post-COVID-19. People are getting up later, and daytime is one of the most efficient areas to buy on TV. So if mass awareness is your goal but you don’t have the budget for the game, consider increasing daytime in your daypart mix to reach a mass audience.
  6. Don’t forget streaming services: With the increase in viewership and time spent on streaming services in 2020, don’t underestimate the power of streaming video services, from your tried-and-true YouTube and Hulu, to newcomers and livestreaming like Peacock, Sling TV and Fubo TV. Creating custom audiences like “sports content” or “sports enthusiasts” can help you reach the same audience with efficiency. Additionally, there’s an opportunity for streaming video sponsorships if you don’t have video assets but want to reach this audience in the platforms.

This year provides a unique opportunity for advertisers to connect with sports fans, no matter their budget. With fans spending more time at home, and more time across devices during the game, they are more willing to engage with brands across platforms.

It’s time to get your strategy in order and make a plan for how you’re going to connect with your audience. Now is the time to experiment and get in the game!