4 PR Touchdowns in Super Bowl History

It’s that time of the year again. This Sunday, Super Bowl XLIX will dominate TV screens across America. Not only is this a holy day for most sports fans, but perhaps even more important for companies and brands. Everyone strives to take advantage of the Super Bowl and its broadcast medium to showcase their products and services for the year’s largest television audience.

Before the Super Bowl, we always hear chatter around advertisements and predictions surrounding which clips will score the most points with the overall audience. While advertising may be viewed by some as the “star player” during the Super Bowl, it is important to remember that public relations activities play just as important of a role within the Super Bowl to help maintain a brand’s momentum.

Here are four PR plays throughout the past four years of Super Bowl history that “scored touchdowns” and are still being talked about today.




1. Doritos

Last year, Doritos knew its competition was fierce and had to find an innovative way to stand out. Doritos came up with the idea to dress up a group of around 30 people in bright orange outfits to portray a giant Doritos chip in the crowd. Not only was this idea creative and cost-effective, but it broke through the clutter in a non-traditional way. This is a critical concept in public relations- practitioners must constantly think of ideas outside the box to break through the media landscape for their clients, whether traditional or digital.


Oreo Superbowl social media


2. Oreo

In 2013, a power outage at the Super Bowl’s arena caused the lights to go out for approximately 34 minutes. Knowing the audience’s attention was on pause for the game Oreo’s social media played off this unexpected event in the heat of the moment and tweeted an image that read, “Power Out? No problem” with a light image of an Oreo and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This is yet again a great example of public relations at its best. Often time’s public relations practitioners must anticipate and think quickly to capitalize on a situation for their clients. This witty and simple messaging accompanied with a visual image that played on the moment proved a perfect formula for success.



3. Old Spice

Old Spice executed a memorable and creative campaign in 2012 with great use of content marketing tactics. Centered on the “Old Spice Guy”, the campaign’s use of multiple channels (particularly YouTube) to sustain its brand and messages helped keep Old Spice in the public’s eye. In this day and age, public relations practitioners must identify clients’ target and secondary audiences and then consider the appropriate platforms they can utilize to ensure an effective campaign.




4. Google

Last but not least, how can we forget Google’s Dear Sophie commercial in 2011? This advertisement showed a young father using Google’s plethora of tools to document his little girl’s life milestones through a digital scrapbook. Although this was an actual advertisement as opposed to a public relations stunt, tweet or campaign, I would still argue that this effectively accomplished the ultimate goal of public relations—to tell a story. Public relations practitioners must always keep this end goal in mind when going about their daily activities.

Overall, all of these public relations activities were successful because they started a conversation either through social media or in traditional media, strengthened brand loyalty and made their presence known at the Super Bowl. What other PR touchdowns stand out in your mind throughout the years? Share with us in the comment section below!

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