Super Bowl’s MVI – The Most Valuable Influencer

There will be two questions on everyone’s lips before the pigskin is kicked high into the Nevada air above the Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, to start the high-octane thrills and spills of Super Bowl LVIII. The first one is predictable: who will win? The second is not: will she or won’t she turn up?

Football fans will be focused on the Titanic battle between the Chiefs and 49ers. Marketing teams, however, will be focused on the second and the appearance – or otherwise – of Taylor Swift. We are all, it seems, touched by her presence. It means more glamour, more flashbulbs, more posts, more TikToks, more viewers and, of course, more revenue. As Ryan Phillips, an analyst at The Big League, declares: “If Swift does show up to Las Vegas for the game, ratings will be massive.”

The ‘Swift effect’ could make Sunday’s game the most-watched Super Bowl of all time, according to research by Apex Marketing Group. For the NFL it is a marketing dream. Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. The dream team of football and music is unleashing something brand new from the marketing playbook.

“Swift’s association with Travis Kelce and appearances at the Chiefs game has generated an equivalent brand value of $331.5 million for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL,” Eric Smallwood, Apex President, told Reuters. “The equivalent brand value is derived from exposure received by Swift/Chiefs from Sept. 24 – Jan 22nd, from various media (TV, radio, newsprint, digital news, social media).”

The star spangled branders

And it’s not just the NFL that will be enjoying the impact that influencers will have on their brands. With more than 100 million fans watching the game – as well as the multi-million dollar ads that jostle for position in the commercial breaks – marketing teams will be keenly watching the performance of the influencers they have chosen to front their brands’ campaigns.

We will see Lionel Messi, Jason Sudeikis and Dan Marino, for example, hanging out beside a South Florida beach pick-up soccer match, drinking Michelob Ultra. Kris Jenner will gaze lovingly at some Oreos. And Nerds fan Addison Rae is to dance about with her favourite candy…

So why is this new or interesting? After all, star names have always supported brands, especially at the Super Bowl. Big is beautiful. Is Lionel Messi the best representative for a low alcohol beer? Maybe not, but who cares if he has 498 million Instagram followers? Does Jenner have Oreo in her DNA? It’s doubtful, and she has admitted she might not even watch the game, but she does have a very tasty fifty-two million followers.

The best of both worlds

Increasingly, well-chosen influencers – with their immense ground-up power – are being used to support big-ticket ads like those showing at the Super Bowl. It’s a fabulous way to maximize the return on those all-important $7 million spots. Just think of all those posts spreading far and wide through social media ecosystems, reaching across demographic and territorial boundaries and keeping the brand story alive. 

A good example is the candy brand Nerds and its tie-up with the singer and actress Addison Rae. It released a teaser video for its first Super Bowl ad. The teaser has Rae (88 million TikTok followers and 30 million Instagram followers) giving a dance lesson to a mystery star to the sound of Irene Cara’s What a Feeling. The star’s identity will be revealed on, you guessed it, February 11. The more youthful fans of Nerds and the more seasoned football followers will meet and celebrate the candy brand. 

The campaign is already winning. In the first week the teaser was released it got more than 459,000 engagements and 605.5 million potential impressions, according to Sprout, social media consultants. Addison Rae’s own post had 4 million views, 232,200 likes and 500+ comments. 

Rachael Goulet, director of social media at Sprout Social, says the Nerds campaign reveals the strategic potential of influencer marketing. Using Addison’s platforms and the Super Bowl will allow the brand to reach a huge new audience as well as boost engagement, drive conversations, and create excitement ahead of the game. “And with the TikTok star appearing as dance coach in the tease it feels authentic and true to her brand,” she adds, “so it resonates with her audience.”

The campaign is no Hail Mary from Nerds. This is a clever pattern from a marketing playbook that is getting more complicated and sophisticated by the year. But I’m sure the Nerds team will be even more delighted if Ms Swift – the biggest influencer of them all – turns up to sprinkle a little extra stardust on their performance…

If your brand strategy lacks an influencer marketing component, our experts can help bring your strategy up-to-date. Get in touch to learn more!  

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