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Brands capitalize on live video on Snapchat, Instagram for Super Bowl LI


By Haley Velasco, Freelance journalist

February 5, 2017 | 4 min read

The biggest sports game of the year will take place in Houston, Texas later today as the New England Patriots face off against the Atlanta Falcons. But in true Super Bowl fashion, the hoopla around the game is just as important as the physical game itself. As millions of fans tune in to Super Bowl LI, brands want a piece of the action. With a $5m price tag on a 30 second traditional TV ad in 2016, many are looking to digital, especially live ads on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram as a way to connect with consumers.


The yellow-ghosted app, which just announced their $3bn public IPO earlier this week, is charging $3 million per custom Snapchat lens. In 2016, if you doused yourself with Gatorade’s sponsored lens, or if you tuned in to Taco Bell’s story, which featured seven influencers, including Shonduras, Jacob Whitesides and The Mowglis, or engaged with many more brands on Snapchat, you witnessed the power of the platform for connecting an audience with a brand’s campaign.

This year’s cast of characters include Amazon who reportedly will use Snapchat around their smart speaker, Alexa, GrubHub, who will be using stats on Super Bowl food consumption, including pizza delivery and Taco Bell who will return, this year promoting its Quesalupa — its cheese-stuffed chalupa.

So why are brands investing on the platform which connects with users in 10 second video increments?

Simply, Snapchat’s daily audience is large — 150m, according to Bloomberg. That outpaces Super Bowl 50’s audience, which was reported to have 111.9m TV viewers, according to Nielsen.


Snapchat isn’t the only platform where brands are capitalizing on the live story feature. Instagram Stories are also a platform where brands are looking to create content to engage an audience. According to Instagram, 150m — the same as Snapchat’s reported audience — use Instagram stories every day.

As far as brands that are capitalizing on Instagram Stories, some of the most iconic — many who haven’t abandoned their traditional TV ads — will use the platform over the weekend.

The Super Bowl’s official beer sponsor, Bud Light, has its hands — or rather logo —all over the big game this year. Leading up to the event, the beer company created the Bud Light X Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour where the pop sensation performed at three dive bars in advance of her half-time performance. That coupled with the official sponsorship, led the brand to dabble with Instagram Stories.

In an effort to balance traditional TV and digital, Buick enlisted Carolina Panther’s QB Cam Newton and supermodel Miranda Kerr in a 30-second spot, which will run on TV in the first quarter. But Buick didn’t stop there. The brand plans to leverage Instagram Stories — the first automotive brand to do so — to engage younger buyers during the game as well.

As the brand’s first foray at the Super Bowl, Wendy’s is using its “Othr Guyz” ad coupled with Instagram Stories. The content gives tips on what consumers can do with frozen beef, as a part of the brand’s fresh, never-frozen message. But Wendy’s isn’t stopping there as the brand plans to include Facebook, as well as an “Othr Guyz” site, in addition to its first ever spot that will air during the first half of the game.

Think back to 2013 to some of the best Super Bowl content ever created. As the power in the stadium went out on Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo tweeted “Power Out? No problem” with an image of a solitary Oreo and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.” That simple tweet was retweeted over 16,000 times.

Here’s to Super Bowl LI’s own Oreo moment.

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