Fall is officially here! Which for millions of Americans means one thing: football season. As we hit the mid-point of the season, fans, correspondents, and bookies are already making their picks for which teams are going to face off during the Big Game (you know, the one we can’t legally name in a blog post). For Food & Beverage brands, the Big (football) Game represents one of the largest sales driving opportunities of the year. To help your brand avoid any Hail Mary moments this year, we’ve laid out some Big Game marketing tips your F&B brand can use to score big.
They Call it “The Big Game” for a Reason
In 2018, 103.4 million people tuned in to watch the game. As part of the official broadcast, brands shelled out nearly $5M per 30-second ad slot. Brands weren’t the only big spenders during the game: adults nationwide shelled out $15.3B ($81 per adult) in 2018 to support their at-home celebrations.
No matter the size of your F&B brand, the Big Game represents a huge opportunity for building brand awareness, capturing new customers, and driving sales! Here’s are a couple of our favorite tips for leveraging the Big Game (outside of dropping that $5M ad spot).
Capture Sales with these Big Game Marketing Tips
1) Launch an Advocacy Marketing Program
When it comes to spreading brand awareness and driving customer engagement on social media, nothing scores higher than a consumer-focused advocacy marketing program. In an advocacy marketing program, your biggest fans team up to share your best marketing content onto their personal social media feeds.
Instead of relying on sponsored posts to increase visibility, your fans are amplifying your message to their friends and family. The result, your brand spends less money sponsoring posts and more time engaging with your new audience.
Let’s take it to the field to learn first-hand how an advocacy marketing program can support your F&B brand.
Advocacy Marketing Drove Avocados From Mexico Down the Field During the Big Game
In 2018, Avocados From Mexico took over the Big Game. With the help of their advocacy marketing program, they were able to socially trounce other F&B brands during the Game. AFM garnered over 22,000 more social mentions than big name brands like Tide. When comparing social mentions across the largest Big Game spending brands, AFM earned 75,000 more mentions than third-place Pepsi.
In other words, they killed it in the advocacy marketing game.
You Can Still Build Your Advocacy Marketing Program In Time For The Big Game.
Advocacy marketing can connect your brand with your biggest fans all over the world. Here’s how you can make your program a roaring success.
A) Build Around a Tentpole
If your goal is to crush competing brands during the Big Game, you need to strategically design your program around the event. Create content that builds off the excitement of the Big Game and include prizing and incentives that football fans will enjoy.
Even more important, make your fans aware of your goals and invite them to become co-conspirators in your strategic plans.
B) Plan Ahead
Speaking of planning ahead, be sure your strategic plan includes:
- Expected outcomes from your efforts
- A content calendar that outlines the post topics and publishing dates
- A budget and plan for promotion and recruitment
- Approval of all contest elements prior to the campaign launch
C) Recruit Early, Recruit Fast
The more fans you get into your program before the Big Game, the more successful your efforts will be. Make sure to build anticipation around the campaign by promoting it before the campaign goes live. Don’t shy away from announcing your program on social media, through your emails, and even via paid recruitment ads.
For even more best practices for launching your program in time for the Game, check out our play-by-play 90-day guide here.
2) Leverage Second-Screeners
Let’s be honest – the TV isn’t the only screen people are watching during the Big Game. About 78% of people admit to using their phone while “watching” the game. Even though brands are still keen to pay upwards of a $1 million for a 30-second commercial slot, many are now realizing that their commercials are potentially missed by distracted viewers.
Bad news for commercial buyers, great news for smaller brands that can’t afford (or don’t want to shell out) those pricey ad-spots.
So, what’s the best way to connect, capture, and engage with second-screeners during the game? Paid Social Ads.
From bad calls to touchdown drives, rest assured that every second of the Big Game will be captured and argued over on social media. This behavior represents a huge potential opportunity for your brand to connect with football fans as people pull out their phones to become part of the Big Game conversation.
Whether it’s a sponsored post, promoted Tweet, or a classic Snap, paid social media ads can help you engage and reach your audience at a fraction of the cost of a 30-second broadcast commercial.
3) Embrace Female Football Fans
It’s not just men that care about sports anymore (or ever). In the last 3 years, the number of female viewers watching the Big Game has increased exponentially. 2016’s Big Game had 792,027 female viewers, while 2018 saw 1,190,222 female viewers.
Not only are more women watching the game; they’re also engaging with advertisers on a deeper level than their male counterparts. According to TVision’s studies, women were 26.1% more focused on the ads and were 27% more likely to pay attention once the game started than men.
Be sure your social media calendar and advocacy marketing program has content that embraces and supports female football fans. What does that mean?
- Be authentic to your brand story and personality
- Don’t dumb down your posts when it comes to football commentary or statistics
- Not everything has to be pink
4) Create Snack Guides & Recipes to Share
One of the best parts about gathering together with friends and family to watch any major sporting event is the food. From dips and chips to wings and ribs, there’s no shortage of delicious eats to choose from at these events. But whether someone is hosting a party, or has been sanctioned to bring a specific dish, sometimes everyone needs a little inspiration.
This is where your F&B brand can have a huge influence on your customers’ purchasing behavior. You can provide that inspiration!
Give your fans a snack guide that’s sure to wow everyone. Show them how they can transform your top selling staples into tasty treats. Create recipe-focused content pieces and begin publishing them two weeks out from the game. Be sure to use a combination of your advocacy marketing program and paid social ads to drive maximum visibility.
To spice things up even more, create a game-themed contest with prizes for the most creative, clever, or tastiest looking dish. To organize all the user-generated contest (UGC) images and videos, be sure to create an official Game Day hashtag so your fans can view and vote for the best dishes.