Believe it or not, the biggest face-off during Super Bowl 50 isn't between Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos and Cam Newton's Carolina Panthers, but amongst the businesses squaring away in the Bay Area during Super Bowl week's festivities.
With over 114 million people tuning in to watch the Super Bowl and over 1 million people converging on San Francisco for the week's events, corporations spent top dollar to attract new customers to their brands.
The price of a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl has surged to a record $5 million. Yet, that high price tag hasn't turned away companies from buying the coveted ad space.
This year's Super Bowl ad line-up includes first time Super Bowl advertiser, Fitbit, which will promote its Fitbit Blaze smart fitness watch during the third quarter. Some returning advertisers include GoPro and Hyundai (whose four Super Bowl ads feature the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart).
Likely to steal the advertising thunder this Super Bowl, though, is Budweiser. Viewers have already seen snippets of what's to come in Bud Light's advertising, with Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen promoting the brand as a conduit to bring people together to party. However, Budweiser's Super Bowl ad plans also include more serious and historic messaging. During Super Bowl 50's broadcast, Bud Light will unveil its first-ever Spanish Super Bowl commercial and will also run an ad focused on preventing drinking and driving.
Beyond commercials, corporations shell out big bucks elsewhere throughout the Super Bowl's footprint. Lavish, invite only VIP parties hosted by corporations are some of the most visible examples of how businesses budget big around the Super Bowl to draw attention to their brands.
The weekend's top parties included Bleacher Report's Bleacher Ball, which featured a performance by the Zac Brown Band and was attended by the likes of Eli Manning, Liam Hemsworth and Conan O'Brien; the DIRECTV Super Saturday Night party, which included a headlining performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Run DMC; and New Era Cap's Gold Rush event, where Hailey Baldwin, Bryce Harper and Blake Bortles enjoyed a live performance by Future.
Those not on the VIP lists for the weekend's top parties also had their share of other fun activities to choose from. That's because, during Super Bowl week corporations also hosted widespread activation events aimed at engaging the general public.
This year, first year NFL sponsor, Hyundai, was bullish on its Super Bowl activations. The motorcar company was the title sponsor of the NFL Experience, where fans enjoyed autograph signings, virtual photo opportunities and had the opportunity to see Super Bowl rings and mingle with NFL legends. Hyundai also had a presence at Super Bowl City and on game day, at the Game Day Fan Plaza.
Hyundai said that its plans for Super Bowl 50 began about six months ago, but that once the final second ticks off of Super Bowl 50's game clock, it'll begin making plans on how to activate for next year's game.
"There are numerous goals with our Super Bowl marketing program, but ultimately it comes down to increasing awareness for our vehicles and technologies and driving traffic to our dealers. Earlier this year we became an official NFL sponsor and it made perfect sense for us to be a major participant in what is annually the biggest event in the U.S. And as one of the largest automakers in the world, we feel that Super Bowl is the ideal stage for our most significant products and to tell the Hyundai brand story," Hyundai Motor America's chief marketing officer, Dean Evans, told The Huffington Post.
Other brands took advantage of the leverage the Super Bowl creates by launching new products. For instance, Gillette celebrated the launch of its Fusion ProShield razor by teaming up with NFL offensive linemen John Urschel, Rodger Saffold and Trent Williams to create videos of the men showing off their dance moves and highlighting the product.
"The #ShieldMove campaign came together because Gillette, a longstanding NFL sponsor, not only wanted to mark the milestone of Super Bowl 50, but also find a unique way to launch its newest product, the Gillette Fusion ProShield, and celebrate shielding on and off the field," said Gillette's global director of sports marketing, Greg Via.
Fans also won big during Super Bowl week with corporations creating unique giveaways surrounding the big game. Verizon hosted one of the most extensive giveaways, #Minute50. Through #Minute50, Verizon turned to social media to give its customers rewards ranging from Super Bowl tickets to one-on-one experiences with NFL legends every 50th minute on the hour leading up to the Super Bowl.
"Super Bowl 50 is one of the most anticipated events ever, so we kicked off #Minute50 to showcase how the Better Network is making Super Bowl 50 even better for Verizon customers by the hour. The campaign is designed to reward our customers with amazing access and experiences every hour on minute 50, all the way through Super Bowl 50. The hourly rewards fit customer's lifestyle and their passion for the NFL," Verizon's director of sports and entertainment marketing & sponsorships, Kristin Rooney, told The Huffington Post.
Leading into the game, Americans may still be unclear as to whether Peyton Manning or Cam Newton will carry the Vince Lombardi trophy out of Levi's Stadium tonight, One thing is certain, though: The clear winner of Super Bowl 50 are the companies who promoted their brands in big ways during Super Bowl week and the fans who reaped the benefits of those investments.