How marketers are leveraging digital channels during the Super Bowl, with or without a spot during the big game

There’s an entire digital ecosystem built around the Super Bowl that brands are using to build awareness and deep conversations with customers.

For a long time, marketers have leveraged tie-ins and other supporting initiatives around the Super Bowl, which remains one the biggest yearly events in marketing. Big spenders will commit a sizeable chunk of their budget to create and air a commercial during the big game. But even if they don’t, they can use this time to draw attention to new messaging, or to achieve other marketing goals.

Big splash for B2B audiences with Super Bowl debut

Workflow operating system will run an ad during the first half of the Super Bowl with a spot buy reaching some 30 million viewers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other key markets.

Their message, “Work without Limits,” came out of their IPO campaign last year and aims at inspiring workers at every level, not just executive decision makers. In this way, is opening up the audience for B2B technology and helping to bolster the no code/low code movement.

“ has been growing and scaling for years using Facebook, LinkedIn, acquiring enterprise accounts, and becoming a household name,” said Molly Sonenberg, creative brand manager for “With the Super Bowl, we have that captive audience. There’s no other time where that happens where viewers are happy to cut to a commercial break.”

Billboards, subway ads and other out-of-home, a medium the advertiser has used heavily in New York, is rolling out in nine markets in support of the Super Bowl push.

“From the beginning in our creation of, we always focused on the end user,” Sonenberg said. “With processes and workflows, workers say they want better. We have an intuitive website and system that’s, dare I say, playful and fun to use.”

The Super Bowl is a big step up from the $ 50 DIY ads they first circulated on social in 2014, and they drafted a creative partner, Mustache Agency, to give this placement the pro touch. But part of the messaging in the build-up of this big Super Bowl project is that it was carried out by in-house marketers using their own operating system.

“At we have a talented marketing team of about 90 people that includes designers, video creators, content writers,” said Fabian Hameline, senior creative producer at “We agreed to look for a boutique agency that would focus on the human scale and experience of the system, which is a very monday way of doing things.”

Although Mustache Agency doesn’t currently use for their workflow, has a team that will introduce the experience to partners in the hope that it catches on in their organization, Sonenberg said.

Short form social engagement by Ricola

Last year during the pandemic, Ricola looked to reposition its throat drops for everyday use. They made a big splash with a Super Bowl ad, and executed a number of short video spots that showed everyday situations where Ricola can help.

Ricola maintained their hold on sports fans throughout the year by showing, in one of the short ads, how throat drops can help fans root for their team by saving their voice.

This year, Ricola opted not to advertise during the Super Bowl. Not on TV, at least. But they will be messaging on digital channels throughout the game, and communicating with sports fans as they continue their pivot to everyday use.

The campaign that launched last year with the Super Bowl transitioned into what is now an always-on social strategy, according to Jacquie Kostuk, director of creative strategy for Ricola’s Toronto-based agency, FUSE Create.

In the process of transitioning from traditional media to social, FUSE Create helped fine-tune the right voice for customers.

“Especially in the social world, we use the first-person ‘We,’” Kostuk explained. “We’re talking to the audience like the audience speaks to other people. They’re not being advertised to. They’re being inspired, not sold to, which is a different narrative and big change for the brand.

FUSE Create has also gone heavy on TikTok advertising, where they feel that, on the emerging platform, there is still organic discovery going on among their users.

Winning the conversation with social listening

When marketers are on social, leveraging big events like the Super Bowl can allow a brand to connect when customers are naturally engaging with one another about the event.

To sustain an always-on social strategy, a brand (and their agency) has to be smart about the resources they use. FUSE Create worked with social listening company Meltwater to find where Ricola was being talked about, as well as Ricola’s competitors.

They could then bring humans into the fold to provide the right messages from Ricola to communicate in a conversational way with consumers on social media.

They discovered that in early 2021, Halls owned 75% of the social conversations about throat drops. By actively engaging on social, Halls is now down to under 50%, with Ricola representing most of the remaining half of the pie.

FUSE Create found fans online that weren’t followers of Ricola but were expressing support nonetheless. And not only does this conversation reach consumers in an always-on way, but also during big events like the Super Bowl, when younger consumers, especially, are on their phones.

“Brands will have success with traditional Super Bowl ads, with flashy ads and sports stars and celebrities front-and-center, yes,” said Molly Seitel, vertical strategy lead for mobile marketing platform InMobi. “What’s different now is that brands take that ad and place it across every channel. The majority of the advertising will go, in some form, to a mobile device.”

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.