Public Relations and its Role in the Super Bowl

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By Sydney Skaggs

The Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated annual events in popular culture. Before, during and after the Super Bowl there is significant hype about the commercials, and for many television viewers the ads are a highlight of the game.

The Super Bowl is huge for the public relations industry. The big game is not just a platform for companies to show their creative advertisements, but for all of the PR and marketing that surround the broadcast at the game.

The Super Bowl gives PR pros a chance to come up with a strategy and analyze the Super Bowl from every angle, finding ways to reach their target audiences. Research has demonstrated over and over again that advertising may guarantee viewers see your message in the form you wish to present it, but it doesn’t guarantee retention, comprehension or persuasion. This proves that public relations can have an impact beyond media relations and simple ads.

One of the most talked about commercials from Super Bowl LII was for Tide laundry detergent. The manufacturer has been working through a crisis recently that was mentioned by Procter & Gamble’s CFO in its latest earnings call. The crisis derives from the emergence of the Tide Pod Challenge, where teens eat (or joke about eating) the small detergent packages. But the three Tide ads shown during the Super Bowl created a buzz that has people talking about the brand for all the right reasons.

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According to Samantha Wood from PR News, “Tide turned conventional advertising on its ear by inserting itself into the classic styles of familiar ad genres, such as those for cars, beer or medicine. The parodies were so successful that many viewers were left guessing which ads would end up being Tide ads after all (Wood).”

Another ad that demonstrated great PR was Amazon’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice.” Previous Alexa ads emphasized the convenience and utility of the Echo product, but the Super Bowl ads used celebrities and comedians as “stand-ins” for the voice of Alexa. The commercials focused on humor and, in the process, humanized the product and the brand as a whole (Wood).

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Paid advertising is used to generate word-of-mouth and third-party credibility and that’s where PR steps in. Both of these ads conveyed a message in a light-hearted way that didn’t directly try and sell you the product but focused more on generating a buzz that would stick around long after the Super Bowl.

If there’s one thing we learn about advertising during the Super Bowl, it’s the perfect place to introduce audiences to products through advertising. Public relations will keep people talking about the ad and hopefully create something that will make them remember the product, long after the game is over.


What was your favorite commercial during Super Bowl LII? Comment below and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Citations: Wood, S. (2018, February 05). 3 Super Bowl Ads That Gave Their Brands a PR Boost. Retrieved February 06, 2018, from


One response to “Public Relations and its Role in the Super Bowl”

  1. Really Cool article. I’ll be back to read more. Thank you for writing it.

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