Thanks to the influencer marketing boom, creators with large followings on platforms like YouTube and TikTok are getting larger roles during Super Bowl season. In the weeks leading up to the annual football showdown, brands turned to digital natives in hopes of expanding the reach of their campaigns.
For the 58th edition of the Big Game, creators played multiple positions.
The Logan Pauls and KSIs of the world can use the Super Bowl to advertise their own products, but for other influencers, team-ups with advertisers opened up new doors. It’s not just brands that are getting in on the influencer marketing trend — even the NFL itself is paying attention to the growth of creator content. Without further ado, here are some partnerships that caught our attention during the first few days of February:
Creators as campaign hype machines
Addison Rae made a brief appearance during Nerds‘ Super Bowl commercial, which featured a giant gummy candy performing a dance routine. It was Rae’s first appearance in a Big Game spot.
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But these days, Super Bowl ad mania extends far beyond the game itself. Brands can supercharge their expensive Big Game campaigns by partnering with creators in the days leading up to kickoff. That’s exactly what Nerdsdid when it enlisted Rae for a preview of its Super Bowl spot. Rae appeared as the giant gummy’s dance coach in a short-form teaser clip that earned more than 320,000 likes.
@addisonre Guess who I’m coaching…?! tune in to find out!! @Nerds Candy 2.11 #ad ♬ original sound – Addison Rae
Ed East, the Founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boys, told AdAge that influencer partnerships can account for the Super Bowl’s limited inventory. “There’s only a certain number of spots in the game, but there are tons of brands who want to engage audiences around the Super Bowl,” East said. “So, digital creators are a far more accessible and affordable route where you can have comparative impact.”
Other brands that adopted similar approaches to Nerds include e.l.f. Cosmetics and Pepsi. The e.l.f. Super Bowl hype machine included an appearance from Benito Skinner, a.k.a. Benny Drama, who portrayed the brand’s Gen Z intern. Pepsi tied its Super Bowl activity to its sponsorship of The Sphere in Las Vegas. Zach King pulled off a typical burst of creativity by pretending to drink Pepsi out of the spherical venue.
Creators as platform spokespeople
We’ve already predicted that creators will play a big role in paid media in 2024, and two platforms used their Super Bowl airtime to harness that trend. Website builder Squarespace riffed on Martin Scorsese’s TikTok fame by casting him and his daughter in its Big Game campaign. And YouTube’s promotion of its TV service — which centered around the NFL Sunday Ticket package — included a cameo from Hot Ones host Sean Evans.
YouTube is wise to turn to creators as its spokespeople for its TV service. Since YouTube acquired the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket in 2022, its YouTube TV subscription count has gone from five million to eight million.
Creators as NFL partners
Speaking of NFL Sunday Ticket, the all-access football package has enabled stronger connections between creators and the pro football community. Thanks to that synergy, influencer partnerships around the Super Bowl can go beyond brand sponsorships. Some football-obsessed creators are working directly with the NFL and its athletes.
The Information reported that the NFL worked with a “record number” of creators during Super Bowl LVIII, including big names like MrBeast, Mark Rober, and Deestroying. At its ultimate event of the year, the most-watched American sports league built on the momentum it established through YouTube-based initiatives like Creator of the Week.
To work with creators who are more athletically inclined, the NFL took a page out of the NBA’s book. The stars of AMP and RDCWorld participated in a flag football game that took place in Vegas two days before the Super Bowl. If that sounds familiar, it’s because those two creator groups also faced off in a flag football showdown that preceded last year’s NFL Draft.
Creators as Super Bowl correspondents
Live updates from the NFL’s championship game are not just for Katie Feeney anymore. This year, a host of creators shared their Super Bowl experiences on their social channels.
Creators like Adam Waheed and Ryan Trahan served as the NFL’s “reporters on the scene,” as NFL SVP of Social, Influencer, and Content Marketing Ian Trombetta told AdAge. Between the influencers in the ads, the influencers in the pregame campaigns, the influencers in the stands, and the influencers on the sidelines, this year’s Super Bowl gave creators their biggest presence yet.
Will next year’s Big Game offer an even greater influx of creator content? We’ll have to wait for Super Bowl LVIX to find out.