TikTok’s Performance at Super Bowl LV
February 13, 2021

Industry AnalysisTikTok’s Performance at Super Bowl LV

TikTok partners with the NFL to create TikTok Tailgate - a "virtual pregame" before the Super Bowl LV.
  • NFL’s decision to create TikTok Tailgate is symbolic that this app that’s blown up in the pandemic is here to stay
  • TikTok has the potential to create effects for brands with $$$. The app created the “Game Day Prediction Creative Effect” especially for the Super Bowl
  • TikTok’s reach, for brands and individual people alike, has the potential to be huge! 7 brands mentioned in Anthony’s analysis collectively racked up a whopping 22 Billion views


Written by Anthony McGuire.

While many people watch the Super Bowl for the game, most people in the media industry tune in order to watch the Super Bowl advertising. For brands wanting to make a splash in the press, the Super Bowl is one of the world’s grandest moments of brand marketing. This year, in line with the growing cultural relevance of the app, TikTok had its biggest ever presence at the event.

What on earth is TikTok Tailgate?

TikTok paired up with the NFL to put on a two-hour virtual pregame event called the ‘TikTok Tailgate.’ People in the US and Canada were able to watch live cooking, interviews, and musical performances directly from the NFL’s TikTok profile. Performers and celebrities like Steve Harvey, Rebel Wilson, and Miley Cyrus participated in the event.

TikTok encouraged users to upload content showing their own tailgates through the #TikTokTailgate hashtag. People could also use the Game Day Prediction Creative Effect, a brand new effect created specifically for the Super Bowl that people could add to their videos.

Brands seized the opportunity to drive engagement for themselves

In addition to TikTok’s own activites, you saw several major brands using TikTok as a creative canvas alongside the Super Bowl. There are many ways to advertise on TikTok, but hashtag challenges are the most unique to the platform. When brands create and promote their own hashtag challenge, they are encouraging people to record their own TikToks in response to the challenge. 

Here are some examples:

  • CHI-CHI’s #SalsaSafely Challenge, where people could showcase creative ways they shared salsa that were safe, healthy and socially distanced.
  • Ocean Spray’s #DoggfaceDanceVibes Challenge, where people could imitate the dance moves of viral sensation Nathan Apodaca. 
  • Gillette and Old Spice’s #ThisorThatSBLV Challenge, where people participated in a Super Bowl themed version of the ‘This or That’ trend.
  • Doritos’ #DoritosFlatLife Challenge, where people could use a branded effect to turn into a 2D version of themselves. 
  • Cheetos’ #ItWasntMe Challenge, where people showed ways they were stealing the new Crunch Pop Mix Cheetos, using the background song ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy. 
  • Pepsi’s #PepsiHalftime Challenge, where people used a Pepsi branded effect to dance along to music from The Weeknd. 
  • TurboTax’s #TurboTaxLivePick6 Challenge, where people played a variation of the ‘This or That’ challenge based around Super Bowl themed questions.
TikTok’s key metrics

The cumulative video views of the seven hashtag challenges above added up to 22 Billion. So in case you haven’t realised yet, TikTok has absolutely huge reach. 

And there’s another metric that’s slightly harder to qualify. When people create TikTok videos in response to a brand’s hashtag challenge, they become active participants. TikTok advertising isn’t just a passive experience you watch, it’s something interactive that requires your actual participation.

As millions of people around the world continue to create TikToks, do dances, and participate in challenges, we can expect that next year’s Super Bowl will be even bigger for TikTok.

It feels like only six months ago we were worried that TikTok was going to get shut down in the US. Now it’s a centerpiece of America’s marketing event of the year.


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