Big Game, Big Goodies
If you’re not a Chiefs or 49ers fan, or just not that into sports, this Sunday’s Super Bowl might be all about the commercials, or maybe Usher’s halftime show – or the snacks. Food and beverage brands have been big buyers of ad time during the game this year, with CBS reporting on February 1 that it sold out of 30-second spots, which can cost up to $7 million.
‘Running Of The Beer Ads’
Some of those brands are rolling out promos and prizes to make the most of the annual opportunity. Miller Lite is making the merch itself the ad. The beer brand chose to skip running a TV spot this year, saying “we want YOU to BE one of our ads” with its “Running of the Beer Ads” program, in which 1,000 fans will wear a branded shirt printed with a QR code while they go out for beer or other refreshments on game day.
Molson Coors – Miller Lite’s parent company – ran its first Super Bowl ad in decades in 2023, after an exclusivity contract with rival Anheuser Busch ended. This year, “Miller Lite is taking it to the streets with our fans turning into literal beer ads that give away free beer money,” Ann Legan, vice president of marketing, Miller Family at Molson Coors, told Brand Innovators.
- Fans can sign up online to receive the official Miller Game Time Jersey, plus $100 and a Big Game Ad kit with instructions.
- The jersey features a red QR code in the middle of the Miller Lite logo to be scanned a the chance to win a share of a $170,000 “beer money” cash prize, along with other rewards.
- The top five individuals whose jerseys are scanned the most will receive free Miller Lite for a year.
- The online teaser ad features comic actor Rob Riggle leading a pack of runners decked out in Miller Lite gear.
Buffalo Wings & Lip Balm
Buffalo wings make almost every top 10 list of Super Bowl snacks – and ranch dip, too. Burt’s Bees and Hidden Valley Ranch teamed up “to bring the craveable flavor of ranch and Buffalo wings to your favorite lip balm for game day” with a super snackable set of four “Ranch Dippers” flavored lip balms. Released in January for $11.99 exclusively online, they sold out within days. Flavors included Hidden Valley Ranch, crunchy celery, fresh carrot and Buffalo sauce, “like a basket of wings in balm form.”
View this post on Instagram
It all started with an April Fool’s Day social post by Burt’s Bees featuring a fictional (at the time) Hidden Valley Ranch lip balm. Fans responded so enthusiastically, said Mariah Eckhardt, general manager at Burt’s Bees in a press release, that they decided to make it real “just in time for dry lip season and game day.”
IMAGES: Burt’s Bees x Hidden Valley Ranch
This isn’t Hidden Valley’s first out-there promotion. Food & Wine reports that the salad dressing giant launched a “Ranch on a Branch” holiday decoration and storybook (a la “Elf on a Shelf”) in 2022 and partnered with Van Leeuwen ice cream in 2023 to make a Hidden Valley Ranch-flavored frozen dessert.
Before either of those promotions, though, the company created a two-carat lab-grown diamond made using Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning and auctioned it to raise money for Feeding America in a campaign linking National Ranch Day on March 10 and National Proposal Day on March 20.
IMAGE: Hidden Valley Ranch
‘Almost Champions Ring of Comfort’
Speaking of rings, M&Ms picked up the idea and ran with it for the company's 2024 Super Bowl promo. In tandem with its TV ad, the candy company will present a diamond-encrusted “M&M’s Almost Champions Ring of Comfort” to NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino, Terrell Owens and Bruce Smith – all of whom played in a Super Bowl but didn’t win.
Each 14-karat gold ring includes lab-created diamonds forged from peanut butter, a process explained in the trailer for the commercial (which is longer than the actual ad spot). The diamonds decorate the top of the ring, which features a bejeweled M&M mascot carrying a football and opens to reveal a tiny bowl stadium perfectly sized to hold a single peanut butter M&M.
In a statement, Marino said the campaign highlights what he called “the essence of sportsmanship,” celebrating all players and the fun of the game. “Historically only one team walks away with a championship ring, but Mars’ inclusive message to inspire moments of happiness and to bring fun to everyone on and off the field really resonated with me,” he added.
The campaign also includes a limited-edition “Champion Comfort Collection” in partnership with the storied athletic brand that invented the hoodie. Fans can sign up online, and those whose favored team loses will be eligible to win a pack of Peanut Butter M&Ms and an exclusive set from the Champion Comfort Collection, which includes a hoodie featuring a red M&M on the chest and a row of six candies in the brand’s classic colors embroidered on the hood.
IMAGE: Champion Comfort Collection by M&Ms
What’s Taylor Wearing?
Of course, any story about this year’s Big Game would seem incomplete without a mention of Taylor Swift, who has created a sensation and drawn many new fans to pro football since revealing her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
At the AFC Championship Game in January, the Grammy-winning singer sported a pendant from sportscaster Erin Andrews’ NFL-themed collection for BaubleBar, which debuted last October. The necklace, which features the Chiefs’ logo on one side and the motto “Chiefs Kingdom” on the reverse, quickly sold out and remains on a wait list.
View this post on Instagram
Refinery29’s Karina Hoshikawa suggests that “Taylor Swift may have singlehandedly resurrected game-day fashion” with her closely watched outfits and accessories this season, and TrendHunter’s Grace Mahas writes that BaubleBar’s collaboration with Andrews’ WEAR brand “reflects a trend of seamlessly incorporating fashion into licensed team apparel catering to style-conscious sports fans” that “opens up possibilities for the fashion and sports retail industries to collaborate.”
IMAGES: BaubleBar/WEAR By Erin Andrews
Hellmann’s Mayo Merch Fights Food Waste
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest food-wasting occasions of the year in the U.S., reports Sustainable Brands, with over 140,000 pounds of extra food at official events alone. (It’s unknown how much gets thrown out after parties in homes, bars or restaurants.) It also precedes one of the biggest “call in sick” days of the year, with an estimated 16 million people planning to miss work the following Monday.
Tying these trends together, Hellmann’s Mayo launched a “Sick of Food Waste Day” campaign four years ago to encourage people to make good use of leftovers instead of throwing them out. It’s part of the brand’s ongoing “Make Taste, Not Waste” campaign that includes recipes searchable by ingredients, as well as a free food waste app.
In addition to its “Mayo Cat” ads during the game this year, Hellmann’s has added a sweepstakes with the opportunity to win Mayo Cat Game Day Swag like a “Make Taste, Not Waste” hoodie and velour bucket hat (both with cat ears) and oven mitts with paw prints – all in the brand’s signature blue – as well as a trip to next year’s big game in New Orleans. There’s also a “snack stadium” that includes two large jars of mayo and a book of game day recipes.
IMAGE: Hellmann’s Mayo
View this post on Instagram