Let me guess, you watched the Super Bowl 50 last Sunday.
The answer is probably yes for most of you to my surmise. The holy grail of sports competition match-ups and one of the most watched television broadcasts in history, Super Bowl Sunday has become an “unofficial holiday” in the United States. This year, Super Bowl 50 accumulated an estimated 111.9 million television viewers and, let’s not forget on top of that, the thousands of attendees who were at the stadium watching.
What public relations has done for this event is turn Super Bowl Sunday into one of the biggest party days of the year and transcends the game of football. The halftime show, the must see television ads, and the food (Super Bowl Sunday ranking only behind Thanksgiving for the most food consumed on a single day), are all features of which have led towards the Super Bowl becoming one of America’s greatest pastimes.
Millions of people watching an event at the exact same time is music to public relations specialists ears. But, the Super Bowl can either be a PR winner or a PR loser (if all things go dreadfully out of plan). Although the Super Bowl is intended to have football at the center focus, there are at times, little instances outside of the game that grab viewers immediate attention. This year at the Super Bowl 50, there were a few occurrences that broke the internet. Let’s take a look and see how we can relate them to PR:
Lady Gaga Rocks Super Bowl 50 National Anthem
Lady Gaga’s stellar rendition of the National Anthem on Sunday received much attention and praise from viewers. Not only were fans of the superstar utterly taken back by her performance, but star studded celebrities were also going off the charts applauding Gaga on Twitter. Lady Gaga said that performing at the Super Bowl was “one of the highest honors of [her] career.” Many can agree that her opportunity to perform was perfect for her publicity and respect. This was a brilliant move on behalf of her personal image.
Eli Manning’s Epic Blank Expression
Perhaps my favorite hiccup of the Super Bowl was the hilarious memes created in result of Eli Manning’s unexcited expression the moment his brother, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, won the Super Bowl. The hundreds of memes spawned because of a video that was released on Twitter focusing on Eli Manning’s miserable reaction. Considering Peyton is his brother and had just made history, one would only assume Eli to have the complete opposite reaction after the Super Bowl win. A few days later, Eli Manning released a statement explaining his reaction. He stated, “[I was] just focused on whether he was going for two … And the defense had to step up and make some stops.” Regardless of what happened, I can’t help but laugh every time I see the unamused reaction. It was in Eli’s best interest for his likeness to respond to the accusations and make light of the situation.
Cam Newton Walks Out of Post Game Press Conference
I’m sure every one has heard the saying “sore loser” and unfortunately, that’s exactly what people were describing Cam Newton as after he abruptly walked out of the post game press conference on Sunday. Scrutinized by fans and viewers, Newton was perceived to be disrespectful with how he handled the conference. Devastated by the loss, Cam Newton ignored questions during the conference and when he did answer, for the most part gave one-word responses. The Tuesday after the Super Bowl, Newton re-addressed the media at the Panthers’ facilities in North Carolina, stating that emotions took over and he simply hates losing. It was a solid PR move for Newton’s image to open up to the media about his absence of the press conference and explain himself. However, with no regrets on leaving the podium during the conference, he made it clear that he was still unapologetic about the way he acted.
Whether it’s a celebrity in the stands, a halftime performance, or a little mistake that is caught on camera, the Super Bowl brings endless attention and fame on top of the game itself. It’s all about how PR specialists handle these situations that can make a Super Bowl experience one to remember.