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    on February 06, 2020 Consumer Psychology

    Using competition in Super Bowl marketing strategies

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    It’s one of the biggest sporting annual events: The Super Bowl! In the big game’s 54th year, the nation watched Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers.

    Since over 100 million people consistently tune in, companies have invested big in ad time during the game. The commercials have become longer, more complex and filled with deep storytelling to raise brand awareness. Many of those millions now watch not just for the game but for the commercials.

    Television ads weren’t the only way to reach consumers that day. Brands also took advantage of social media campaigns to sell to sports fans as well.

    With the competitive nature that already exists on this particular Sunday comes an opportunity for marketers to use consumer psychology in the same way. Building off the inherent nature created between rivaling teams can lead to a successful marketing strategy.

    In our blog series, “B2C Psychology” - Consumer Psychologist Dante Priouz explained that the desire to win is a trait that comes from our earliest ancestors. Competition was once a mechanism used by humans in order to survive. 

    Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on competing for needs, like food or water, in order to live. Yet since that’s part of our evolution, sometimes it still feels that way when faced with a competitive environment. Enter marketers - who have found that creating said environment can mobilize and motivate consumer behavior.

    Many brands found a way to do this during Super Bowl LIV. Here are just a few examples:


    The Pepsi Halftime Sweepstakes had people guessing what Shakira and Jennifer would be performing that night.

    The rules said Pepsi would tweet ten conversational ads with a question about the upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show with the hashtags #PepsiHalftime and #Sweepstakes. To enter, consumers had to simply answer the question they thought was best.

    J.Lo, herself, promoted the contest:

    Winners were selected in a random drawing held the next day.


    Tums took to Twitter to hold an interactive contest among users. To enter for a chance to win $54,000 or to be one of the six to receive a free trip, people needed to share Tumsworthy moments during the big game with a specific hashtag.  


    People could enter up to five times, which included each quarter of the game and the halftime show.

    Mobile Marketer reported actor Anthony “Spice" Adams, singer Jessie James Decker, actor Adam Devine, YouTuber Sean Evans and meme accounts BeigeCardigan and Daquan participated in live tweeting.

    Frank's RedHot

    Frank's RedHot​ also held a Twitter sweepstakes as part of its "I Put That $#!t on Everything" campaign. Plus, this sweepstakes came with a game show called “Frank’s Spin the Bottle.”

    This brand engaged consumers who were keeping an eye on commercials. To enter to win $36,500 and “other saucy prizes,” participants had to tweet about commercials as they aired with the chili pepper emoji, an emoji related to the ad’s category and the designated hashtag. 

    The tweets were then entered into drawings on the game show where Frank’s spun and the tweeters won.

    Rocket Mortgage

    Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans incentivized people to share its themed sweepstakes in order to score more squares for a better chance of winning big. The company paid out a total of $1.75 million in the largest game of Super Bowl Squares in history, according to a press release. The game, which was free to play, kicked off Rocket Mortgage's new multi-year deal with the National Football League, making it the Official Mortgage Sponsor of the NFL.

    "A total of 15 people won $50,000 each during Super Bowl LIV, as a result of 15 score changes in the game," the company stated. "Two additional winners walked away with the grand prize of $500,000 each – which could be used toward the purchase of their dream home."

    While the Kansas City Chiefs took home the Super Bowl win Sunday night, a few consumers won big too. But perhaps the biggest winners were the companies who were able to spread brand awareness using consumer psychology.

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    Andrea Gonzales-Paul

    Andrea Gonzales-Paul is a brand journalist at Quikly. Her background is in storytelling, specifically working in TV news and documentary filmmaking.