February 6, 2018 TVG Admin

The Big Game: A PR Perspective

The Big Game: A PR Perspective

While The Big Game had slightly less viewers than previous years, a whopping 111.3 million people tuned in to watch the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory over the New England Patriots. We TVGers were part of that statistic, watching from our homes with our friends and family.

Many thought the game was one of the most exciting finals in recent memory. But rather than giving a play-by-play recap, we want to analyze the whole event from a public relations perspective. Here are some of our thoughts on The Big Game through the eyes of a PR pro.

The Pregame

The Big Game’s pregame coverage is considered legendary among sports pregame coverage. Designed to communicate everything one needs to know about the upcoming game to a broad and diverse audience, the pregame coverage began almost seven hours before kickoff. Segments showcasing the lead up to the finals, bios of star players, statistics, and more were all part of the broadcast.

This year, we thought the pregame coverage was excellent. It immediately brought those who aren’t big into football up to speed with everything we needed to know to enjoy the game. Examples include a piece on Tom Brady’s future after the game, superstitious stats, Nick Foles’ high school career, and more.

The Commercials

And as always, one of our favorite parts of watching The Big Game—the commercials! The cost of placing an advertisement in a commercial break is astounding—nearly $5 million for 30 seconds! Advertisers had to be absolutely confident that their ads would be well-received, to spend that kind of money.  There’s already no shortage of “best and worst” lists on the internet, so we’ll just give you an overview:

The ads this year worked to captivate audiences and get them talking about the brands.

  • Celebrities were featured prominently and humorously in the ads (Amazon’s Alexa featured Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins, Cardi B and more, Doritos/Mountain Dew with Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, Michelob Ultra had a sneaky Chris Pratt in the background).
  • Advertisements appealed to people’s emotions (sometimes unsuccessfully, however) by featuring a strong message of peace or unity or friendship.
  • They successfully got us talking about them through their humor and unpredictability. Specifically, the Tide ads that got us wondering if the next commercial we see would be a Tide ad, and the Australia Tourism ad that got us psyched to see a new comedy film with Chris Hemsworth.

All in all, the ads performed well, and for good reasons.

The Half-Time Show

With an event as large as the Halftime Show, there’s no way the performing artist will escape without criticism—and Justin Timberlake was certainly no exception.

He performed a 14-minute ensemble of his own songs, but the biggest and most talked-about moment was when he covered the late Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” alongside a projection of the artist. This move was considered disrespectful by some.

Timberlake received about the same amount of criticism that any other artist would receive, and nothing scandalous or extremely controversial occurred. He took a risk with the Prince song, but ultimately played it safe with the show. A good strategy, in our opinion.


These days, sports games are not just games. They are massive events that require capable PR pros to ensure they run seamlessly. The communications professionals who worked all day and night to broadcast the game, tweet the plays, coordinate the halftime show, and who remained on standby all weekend in case of a crisis, deserve to be commended. Sports communications can be very stressful, especially at games as big as this. It’s not all fun and games for everyone!

Are you in need of marketing or PR specialists? The Vandiver Group has expertise in traditional PR, marketing, social media, media relations and more. Drop us a line at tvg@vandivergroup.com or call us at +1 (314) 941-5713.

To read a previous TVG Blog on advertisements, click here

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