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Super Bowl 2024: Top Influencer Marketing Campaigns and Takeaways

Here's what influencer marketers can learn from the top Super Bowl ad campaigns.
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Some may say the Super Bowl is like the Olympics for the ad industry. With over 200 million engaged viewers watching the Big Game, brands of all kinds rush to the drawing board to put together a creative and memorable ad campaign that will create a lasting impact for the business.

This year, we saw a record number of influencer-led Super Bowl campaigns, from CeraVe’s iconic “Michael CeraVe” campaign to Maybelline’s Dance Moms reunion. So, let’s talk about it. Why were these campaigns so impactful, and how can you replicate their strategies in the future?


The Campaign

For the last month or so, your social media feed may have been bombarded by actor Michael Cera and skincare brand CeraVe. CeraVe’s viral “Michael CeraVe” campaign was sparked by influencer Haley Kalil (8.5 million TikTok followers), who posted a TikTok last month as she stumbled upon actor Michael Cera secretly signing CeraVe products in her local pharmacy. 

@haleyybaylee Guys run to this pharmacy in BK, I just saw MICHAEL CERA signing bottles!! 😳😳😳I'm a #ceravepartner, and I'm asking @CeraVe what is going ON #nyc #fyp #celebritysighting ♬ original sound - haleyybaylee

As her post gained traction, viewers flocked to the same pharmacy to potentially catch Cera in the act and get their hands on one of the signed CeraVe products, according to a CeraVe representative. Some shoppers even called the pharmacy asking employees to hold signed bottles for them, offering upwards of $200 for one. 

This moment set the stage for a massive marketing campaign, leaning into the years-running joke that questioned whether Michael Cera was, in fact, the founder of CeraVe. The campaign was broken down into 3 parts:

  • Chapter 1: “The speculation” — To cause a frenzy around Cera’s potential connection to the brand, CeraVe sent out PR boxes “from Michael” to influencers, complete with “Michael CeraVe” branded products, quotes from Cera, and more. The brand paid over 50 influencers to create unboxing videos around the mailer, building a huge buzz on social media. 
  • Chapter 2: “The fight goes public” — CeraVe publicly refuted Cera's involvement with an official statement, but paired it with sponsored content from various influencers to continue the speculation and keep the social conversations going until game day. For example, Caleb Simpson (7.8 million TikTok followers), known for his apartment tours on TikTok, got a tour of Cera’s CeraVe lotion-ridden trailer, while dermatologist Dr. Muneeb Shah (18.2 million TikTok followers) quizzed Cera about skincare, with Cera comedically deflecting each question.
  • Chapter 3: The Super Bowl ad — The “prank” unraveled on Sunday with CeraVe’s minute-long spot aired during the Super Bowl. Halfway through the commercial, the video cuts to a boardroom filled with some of CeraVe’s actual dermatologist partners, who officially assure viewers that CeraVe is not, in fact, Cera’s brand.

The Takeaway

The elaborate “Michael CeraVe” campaign is a perfect example of how a brand can leverage creators to connect with consumers, build a buzz on social media, and ultimately drive impact. 

To replicate CeraVe’s success, consider the following strategies for your next campaign.

  • Tie back all influencer activations to your “hero” message. All of CeraVe’s influencer partners redirected their audience back to the Michael Cera x CeraVe campaign, really driving the message that CeraVe isn’t, in fact, Michael Cera’s brand, but instead it’s a ceramide-based skincare brand backed by licensed dermatologists. For your own campaigns, make sure to have your influencers tie their content back to your overarching brand message — especially if you’re running a multi-pronged campaign with many moving parts. 
  • Work with a diverse array of creators. Don’t be afraid to branch outside of your niche. While CeraVe partnered with dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts, the brand also worked with creators who typically post comedy content, house tours, Q&A style interviews, and more to reach different audiences. 
  • Give creators creative freedom.According to Adam Kornblum, SVP and Global Head of Digital Marketing at CeraVe, the brand empowered all of its influencer partners to maximize their own creativity and “take the story and run with it in their own style.” This is truly key to influencer marketing success today. When creators weave in your brand into their content in a way that authentically aligns with their personal brand, it resonates better with their audience and ultimately makes the campaign more impactful. Moving forward, shift away from enforcing strict content guidelines and rely more on your creator partners’ ability to understand trends and audience needs, and give them more autonomy when it comes to the content creation process.


The Campaign

Instead of dishing out millions to run a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl, Maybelline opted to spend their budget on a more cost-effective channel: influencer marketing. The legacy beauty brand invited JoJo Siwa (11.1 million Instagram followers), Nia Sioux (5.9 million Instagram followers), and several other former Dance Moms stars to attend the Super Bowl in partnership with the brand. 

For the partnership, each influencer created branded content before, during, and after the game, including: 

  • #GRWM (Get Ready With Me): Each Dance Moms star posted a casual #GRWM in the comfort of their hotel room, showcasing how they get ready for the game using all Maybelline products, while simultaneously chatting about the exciting weekend ahead, reminiscing on dance competition makeup, and more. 
@kalanihilliker Vegas with maybelline! 🤍🎰✨🏈🫶🏼 #maybellinepartner @Maybelline New York ♬ original sound - Kalani Hilliker
  • Before-and-after transformation: On Maybelline’s own TikTok account, the brand posted each influencer’s makeup before and after the game. Spoiler alert: not much changed, showcasing the long-lasting effects of the products.
@maybelline Soo about last night!!🤩🏈 major glam goals by some of your fave dance ladies before & after the big game💯 #maybellinepartners ♬ Pop Star - Coco & Clair Clair
  • Makeup hacks: Even after the Big Day, Maybelline’s influencer partners were posting about their products to achieve a fresh post-game day look.
@niasioux The game this weekend has me feeling tired but you would never know thanks to Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Concealer 😌 #MaybellinePartner @Maybelline New York @CVS Pharmacy ♬ original sound - NiaSioux

The Takeaway

To replicate Maybelline’s success, consider the following strategies for your next campaign. 

  • Lean into lo-fi content. Gone are the days of perfectly manicured, brand-directed content. Today’s consumers want to see scrappy, authentic content that makes you feel like you’re on FaceTime with a friend. So, work with influencers to create lo-fi content, such as #GRWM videos, try-on hauls, food taste tests, or any other type of no-frills content that makes sense for your brand. Then, repurpose that influencer content across all of your branded channels to maximize the impact of your influencer campaign. 
  • Work with groups of influencers who are associated with one another. Research suggests that consumers need to see a brand at least 7 times before making a purchase. The good news is that this can easily be achieved through influencers. Most influencers have friends in the same profession, and audiences frequently follow everyone in the friend group. By taking these influencer friend groups on brand trips and fun events, you can make multiple touchpoints with the same audiences and encourage them to check out your brand — just as Maybelline did with their Dance Moms partners.


The Campaign

One week prior to the Super Bowl, Dunkin’ debuted a new commercial at the 66th annual GRAMMY Awards, starring two diehard Dunkin’ fans, actor Ben Affleck and TikTok mega-star Charli D’Amelio (151.8 million TikTok followers). 

In the video, Ben embarks on an unexpected journey to become a future pop star, seeking dance lessons and guidance from Charli. In a dramatic moment reminiscent of a scene from a superhero movie, Ben finds the inspiration to overcome doubt and pursue his aspirations, all while holding onto his Dunkin' beverage. The commercial ends with a tantalizing "To Be Continued" message, leaving viewers eager to see what's next for Ben, Charli, and Dunkin'.

Less than a week later, Dunkin’s official Super Bowl ad premiered during the Big Game, starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, and more. In the commercial, the star-studded crew walk into JLo’s studio wearing matching Dunkin’ branded tracksuits and interrupt her recording session to show off their own musical stylings as a band called The DunKings. 

With the Super Bowl commercial, Dunkin’ promoted a new menu, including The DunKings Iced Coffee and The DunKings MUNCHKINS® Skewers, as well as new DunKings official merch — which of course includes the orange tracksuits from the Super Bowl commercial.

Dunkin’s ingenious Super Bowl ad is already paying off. According to TMZ, the brand sold out of their new tracksuits 19 minutes after they went on sale on the official site on Monday, making it the chain’s fastest-selling collection.

The Takeaway

To replicate Dunkin’s success, consider the following strategies for your next campaign. 

  • Work with authentic brand partners. Ben and Charli are both known for their love of Dunkin’ coffee. That’s what makes Dunkin’s partnership with them so authentic and impactful, leading viewers to try their coffee orders, buy their merch, and more. As you look for influencers for your next campaign, focus on finding those who are true fans of your brand and have an audience that matches your ideal customer profile. Remember, the more aligned you are with your influencers, the better response you’ll get from your target audiences.
  • Adopt a “breadcrumbing” strategy. Dunkin’s teaser with Ben and Charli was the perfect way to build anticipation for the Big Day. For your next campaign or product launch, release teasers or hints through your influencer partners to keep audiences interested for an extended period of time, leading to higher levels of excitement and engagement when the final reveal occurs. 
  • Implement a multi-channel strategy. By working with both Charli and Ben, it’s clear that Dunkin’ is building a comprehensive strategy, combining influencer marketing with more traditional advertising, to maximize brand exposure and drive consumer engagement across various channels. For your next campaign, take your influencer marketing to the next level by activating campaigns across multiple channels — whether it’s paid social, email marketing, or even television — targeting different stages of the purchasing funnel. By doing so, you can maximize the impact of your influencer program across the entire buyer’s journey. 

The Growing Power of the Creator Economy

The regular involvement of influencers in this year’s Super Bowl ad campaigns validate the power of the creator economy. As traditional advertising methods face challenges in capturing consumer attention, brands are starting to tap into influencers to reach consumers in a way that actually resonates and to drive growth for their business. From social activations to major features in commercials, it’s clear that influencer marketing has evolved beyond being solely a social strategy and has become an integral part of many brands' overall marketing efforts.

Want to supercharge your influencer marketing efforts? Contact us to see how Aspire can help. 

Learn how to navigate the current influencer marketing landscape in our webinar, The State of Influencer Marketing 2024

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