Taylor Swift-Inspired Marketing Boom as Super Bowl Looms

The "Swift effect" has taken advertisers by storm in the run-up to this year's Super Bowl, as brands scramble to associate their products with the singer and the NFL.

This year, the Super Bowl has become inextricably linked to Taylor Swift. The singer has been in a high-profile relationship with Travis Kelce, the tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, for some time now. Their relationship first went public in 2021, but they have since been more visible in their romance, even sparking rumors of a potential proposal at last year's Met Gala.

The increasing media attention on Swift and Kelce has inadvertently created a marketing opportunity for brands surrounding the Super Bowl, which takes place in Las Vegas this year on 12 February. Advertisers are betting big on the so-called "Swift effect," believing that coupling Swift's culturally significant fans and the NFL's largely male audience could be a winning formula to secure viewership and attention.

As a result, brands like e.l.f Cosmetics and Fireball have launched campaigns built around Swift and the Super Bowl, while even larger brands like American Airlines have taken advantage of the opportunity to rename flights in her honor. Some airlines have even renamed flights in her honor.

However, not all marketers have jumped on the "Swift effect" bandwagon quite as quickly. Some, like Baruch Labunski, CEO of digital marketing company Rank Secure, have urged caution, explaining that this type of marketing needs to be executed with talent and creativity rather than money. While advertisers may hope that the Swift effect will boost their brand association long-term, Labunski warns that a new trend will emerge in a few months, so it's vital to put more effort than money into this kind of marketing.

There's no denying that the overlap between Swift's audience and the NFL offers marketers an opportunity for greater reach across both TV and social media, especially for L'Oréal and NYX Cosmetics, which can directly connect with the Super Bowl's substantial female audience and the football-curious legions of Swift fans.

However, while there's no doubt that the "Swift effect" has captured the attention of advertisers ahead of the Super Bowl, it remains to be seen whether it will prove a smart move in the long run. Some have described it as a "no-brainer" opportunity, especially considering Kelce's elevated profile and widespread influence.

This year, the NFL has seen a substantial increase in visibility and engagement around social content featuring NFL couples, according to Alex Rawitz, director of research and insights at CreatorIQ. Rawitz highlighted the example of San Francisco player Christian McCaffrey and his wife, model Olivia Culpo, as well as McCaffrey's teammate Kyle Juszczyk and his wife, Kristin. Kristin designed a now-viral puffer jacket for Swift, sparking a licensing deal with the NFL.

Regardless of the potential polarizing backlash from some fans, Travis Kelce himself is likely to appear in a Super Bowl ad this year, according to Peter Daboll, chief strategy and insights officer at iSpot, given his wide popularity and status as one of the NFL's most-seen endorsers.

Meanwhile, brands have also enlisted Kelce's family members to promote products ahead of the game. Ziploc bags have been promoted by Kelce's mom, Donna, while Dove has enlisted Kelce's sister-in-law, Kylie, the wife of Travis' brother and fellow NFL star Jason, to star in a TV spot promoting its support of the Body Confident Sport Program.

Ultimately, Swift has generated a staggering brand value of $331.5 million for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL, per Front Office Sports, which cited data from Apex Marketing Group, as of Jan. 22. How that will affect viewership of this year's Super Bowl remains to be seen.

Read more