8 Unlikely Companies Successfully Newsjacking Super Bowl XLVII


Super Bowl XLVII is quickly approaching. Here are some things you're probably hearing a lot about: New Orleans, beer, Beyonce, Doritos in any of their various flavors and formats, and maybe, if you work in marketing, the millions of dollars a few select brands are spending on a Super Bowl commercial.

That's why I thought it'd be fun to hear about the companies out there that have nothing to do with the Super Bowl, but are still, somehow, getting a lot of attention as the big game approaches on Sunday. That's right, we're talking about newsjacking, and when brands do it well, it's something to celebrate. So let's take a look at eight companies that have newsjacked Super Bowl XLVII. And remember, it's not too late to dream up your own Super Bowl campaign! (Unless you were banking on an ad placement, in which case, I'm sorry, I think you missed the boat.) ;-)

1) Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl

Not everyone is a football fan ... but who doesn't love puppies!? Animal Planet knows that people will be glued to their televisions for most of the day on Super Bowl Sunday, so why not give people something else to watch while they're waiting for the big game to start? Animal Planet has partnered with the Washington Animal Rescue League to bring us the 9th annual Puppy Bowl. If you haven't seen it in previous years, the Puppy Bowl shows puppies playing on a 10 by 19 foot carpet that resembles a football field. Every time they bring a toy past the goal line, they score for their team. Here, take a look (and then just try to get back to work):

Last year, 9 million people watched the Puppy Bowl, and 1.4 million people watched it by video stream. Their YouTube channel has racked up thousands of views on just the promotional videos alone. This year, the Puppy Bowl will also feature 21 kittens from an animal shelter in New York, and 63 puppies from 23 shelters across the country. In addition to raising exposure for Animal Planet, this genius Super Bowl newsjack raises awareness for shelters across the country. All of the animals who participate in the Puppy Bowl are adopted by the end of the show, and even more animals across the country are adopted as a result of it. You wouldn't think Animal Planet has anything to do with the Super Bowl, but they found a way to ride the popularity wave nine years in a row to advance a cause that's important to them. And let's be honest ... using puppies certainly doesn't hurt their cause, either.

2) Mullen's Brand Bowl

Every year Mullen, an advertising agency in Boston, hosts what they call the Brand Bowl. They take a look at Radian6 to see what commercials people are talking about the most on Twitter, and whether the response was positive or negative. Based on these ratings, they rank the commercials and brands to determine the best commercials of the Super Bowl.


Mullen does a great job finding an angle with the Super Bowl that's interesting to their industry and target audience -- the best advertisements, which is arguably more interesting than the actual game to millions of Americans, anyway. As they do it, they're able to demonstrate their services, thought leadership, and social media prowess, too. Not a bad way to share some of the Super Bowl spotlight!

3) TrueLens' Data

TrueLens is a Cambridge-based startup that produces customer insights sourced from public social media posts. When the Super Bowl teams were finalized, they posted a blog post using their customer intelligence tool to illustrate the differences between the fan bases of the two teams. Here, take a look at a little excerpt:


The TrueLens product may not relate to the Super Bowl (okay, it definitively doesn't), but they can use it to generate conclusions about social media users talking about the Super Bowl. Really, it's one of those rare but excellent marketing opportunities in which you can show off how your product works ... without totally forcing an unnatural product tie-in. The blog post carefully lays out examples of the data the customer intelligence tool can produce, and what you can learn as a result of the data. For example, the post outlines where the fans of the two teams go to eat, what television networks they watch, and what social networks they use (as shown in the picture above). Good for TrueLens for identifying a great opportunity to showcase their product's data collection abilities!

4) Pizza for Patriots and DHL Joint-Donation

Pizza for Patriots is a non-profit organization that works with pizza and food companies to feed about a half million military troops on holidays like Independence Day and Veterans Day. This year, they're trying to send more than 20,000 pizzas to the Middle East on Super Bowl Sunday so the military can enjoy a delicious pizza, just like the millions of viewers in the United States watching the game. They're doing it in conjunction with DHL, who will help them by sending the pizzas overseas.

In the past, Pizza for Patriots has focused on sending pizza to troops during holidays, and they've received a lot of media attention from local outlets. But by newsjacking the Super Bowl, they're now getting national attention for their campaign ... which will only help them during this campaign, and in future campaigns.

5) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides resources for states and highway safety professionals. They're constantly promoting safe driving and have started a marketing campaign during this year's Super Bowl to prevent drunk driving.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is always looking for opportunities to speak out against drunk driving, and they aptly recognized that it would be a good opportunity to create marketing materials that spoke out against drunk driving, and align it with the upcoming Super Bowl. They have press releases, visual collateral, sample tweets, and content with safe driving tips that they're promoting on their website. Though the organization is focused on highway safety and not football, there's no denying there's a perfect opportunity to ride the popularity wave of the Super Bowl to get their message out further than they would any other day of the year. And they've stockpiled the marketing content they need to do it!

6) EatNowNOLA.com's Web App

When the Super Bowl was in Indianapolis, people noticed that some restaurants were packed, while others inexplicably had plenty of open tables. This year, EatNowNOLA.com launched an app to fix that problem, letting people know what restaurants have availability, and which ones do not.


There are about 500 restaurants participating with this app right now. People standing in line waiting for a table can update the app, or the restaurants can update it themselves. While thousands of people are trying to find a place to eat in a small city, this will save some serious frustration -- and what better way for this company to get app adoption year round than to find a use case now, with an audience of millions?

7) Saxon Diamond Center's Refund Campaign

Maryland is getting pretty excited that their very own Baltimore Ravens are in the Super Bowl. To celebrate, a local jewelry store is offering refunds of up to $5,000 on pieces of jewelry purchased during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Because when you think Super Bowl, you totally think jewelry.

But that's what makes a great newsjack! And there's actually a little bit more to this campaign that makes it pretty genius -- they're only offering a refund if the Ravens hold the 49ers scoreless during the game. That adds one more element to this campaign that actually ties in quite nicely to the Super Bowl ... betting. If anyone's feeling lucky, particularly any die hard Baltimore fans, this kind of marketing campaigns might be right up their alley. And hey, any ladies looking for a little bling might have the perfect opportunity to convince their football fan significant others that they should spring for the purchase!

8) Chipotle's Burritos by the Box

On Game Day, you have buffalo wings. Possibly pizza. Maybe subs. Definitely chips and dip. But you don't usually have ... burritos. Chipotle is trying to change that this year, though, by announcing their Burritos by the Box campaign. Consumers who buy six or more burritos on Super Bowl Sunday will be eligible to get a free burrito for the rest of the month of February. Mmmm, yummy!


By offering this deal, Chipotle is putting themselves in the running for snack foods you just have to pick up for Super Bowl Sunday -- this year, and if the campaign goes well, in subsequent years. Plus, this campaign keeps you addicted well after the game's over; with a free burrito coming your way, you better believe you won't be done gorging yourself on delicious burritos after the game ends!

What other companies out there are going an awesome job newsjacking the Super Bowl? Yours, perhaps? Share it with us in the comments!

Image credit: theimpulsivebuy