4 Advertising Trends That Will Transform Super Bowl LVIII

By Samantha Burkhart, Head of Product Marketing at Aki Technologies, the media division of Inmar Intelligence

Shifts in the media landscape and consumer behavior are transforming expectations and opportunities around the biggest sporting event of the year. Advertisers looking to get in on the action during Super Bowl LVIII in February need to be making their plans with full acknowledgment that this coming game day will look different than the previous 57.

This year, Amazon Prime Video scored a touchdown when it broadcasted the first-ever Black Friday NFL game, leveraging the opportunity to drive viewers to its site on a day that they might otherwise be considering hitting the stores. Meanwhile, Paramount’s CBS, which has the broadcasting right for this year’s big game, reportedly sold out advertising inventory far earlier than expected, even at nearly $7 million a pop for 30-second slots.

So what do brands need to know about the factors that will influence their ROI come Feb. 11, 2024? Here are the trends we’ll be watching.

Conversations and Creators Grow Their Influence

Shared cultural moments are more coveted by people than ever, and the Super Bowl represents the largest remaining televised event in the US that unites people on an annual basis. That means people are going to want to talk about it, whether that’s on X, Instagram, TikTok or some other platform. Those secondary devices are going to be just as important as those big screens in their living rooms, and brands need to show up there.

For advertisers, the highly sought (and sold-out) commercial spots aren’t enough to make a lasting Super Bowl impression. Brands need to drive conversations around their messages. This year, look for even more brand-sponsored conversations and viral trends led by high-profile creators across social media. More than ever, we’re going to see an influx of creator appearances on the big screen, despite these spots historically being dominated by celebrities.

If brands don’t give consumers the opportunity to participate in their advertising campaigns, people will start their own conversations. That’s why the smartest brands will be the ones who build their Super Bowl plans around approachability and engagement, as Frito-Lay did with last year’s viral #DoritosTriangleTryouts Super Bowl campaign. The campaign invited social media users to submit their best triangle TikTok dance with the promise of the winner being featured on the big screen during the brand’s 2023 Super Bowl advertising spot.

VR Brings Viewers into the Experience

Engagement is one thing. Feeling like you’re actually at an event is another. And yes, fans increasingly want to go beyond simply viewing the game to feel like they are there in person. Last year, we saw this come to life via this VR experience that allowed fans to stream the halftime show from their mobile devices and choose how they viewed the show (with multiple 360-degree cameras allowing viewers to experience the show in real time from whatever angles they chose).

Research has found that nearly 6 out of 10 U.S. viewers would be interested in a metaverse Super Bowl experience. Given this enthusiasm, we predict VR experiences will take on an even bigger role at Super Bowl LVIII, with the ability to view the game and surrounding entertainment directly through VR headsets. This is an opportunity for brands looking to stand out in the crowd.

New Brands Enter the Stadium

This year GM will be absent from the advertising playing field at Super Bowl LVIII, representing the first time the brand is skipping the game since 2019. We’ll still see automotive and alcohol mainstay brands at the game—but we’ll also likely see some surprise entrants.

Last year, beauty brand e.l.f. capitalized on TikTok product momentum by featuring Jennifer Coolidge in a Super Bowl ad for its primer. In 2024, we expect to see other brands appealing to younger (and less-macho) consumers via the NFL, particularly with Taylor Swift dating Travis Kelce and bringing additional viewers to the game. Say what you will about the celebrity pairing, but it’s opening the NFL and Super Bowl to broader demographics, particularly among women, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Particularly in light of Nickelodeon’s first-ever kid-friendly Super Bowl broadcast, which will feature virtual reality graphics and characters, this event has more to offer fashion, beauty and gaming brands than ever.

Shoppable Advertisements Will Win Big

In 2022, Coinbase’s Super Bowl advertisement featured a bouncing, colorful QR code. It was so popular that, within a minute, more than 20 million viewers scanned the code and took the landing page down temporarily. This caused the Coinbase app to jump from 186th place on the app store to No. 2. Other brands took note and in 2023, Avocados from Mexico, Limit Break, and Servant all used QR codes in their advertising.

This year, brands will take shoppable codes—from chatbots to QR codes—a step further by offering personalized savings and shopping experiences to viewers, similar to what we saw during Amazon Prime’s Black Friday football takeover. We predict brands will mimic this approach, offering tailored messages and savings in real-time via “scan to shop and save” codes, shoppable pause ads and more featured throughout the Super Bowl. This opportunity will be enhanced by the Super Bowl’s streaming this year via Paramount+ and YouTube TV, offering brands expanded inventory across the CTV channel.

As a cultural icon, the Super Bowl remains as powerful a force as ever, but the advertising playbook is evolving quickly. The brands that break through during or surrounding this year’s big game will be the ones with their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends in engagement, VR, viewer demographics and shoppable experiences.