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Restaurant Marketing Lessons That Can Be Learned From the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is behind us. It was a four-hour-plus frenzy of great football action interspersed between hordes of commercials pitching just about everything under the sun. Between the game and the commercials, there are plenty of marketing lessons to be learned that you can easily apply to your restaurant.

Planning and collaboration

Super Bowl ads are expensive, so they need to deliver a message effectively. If an ad agency misses, the company can be out thousands of dollars on an ad that did not produce the intended results. To market a product properly, lots of planning and collaboration need to go into the process. When planning ads for the Super Bowl, the collaboration needs to be between the ad agency and the company doing the advertising. Chances are you don’t have an agency doing the marketing for your restaurant. However, you should still collaborate with the other people involved with your restaurant. You don’t want to start an ad campaign that promises food your chefs cannot deliver.

Integration and organization

If you pay close attention to all of the Super Bowl ads from one company, you will notice that successful companies integrate their old and familiar commercials with their newer ones. People feel comfortable with the familiar and it is important to keep customers comfortable. You can employ a similar strategy when you market your restaurant. Keep some old favorites on the menu when you roll out your new offerings. When you advertise your restaurant, be sure to mention the traditional dishes at the same time you entice customers with new ones. You will keep your long-standing customers who might be resistant to change happy while bringing in new customers who are interested in trying something new.

Consumer involvement

The best Super Bowl ads create a connection between the consumer and the product. People like commercials they can relate to and with which they can identify. Ad agencies often use humor to appeal to customers and make that ever-important connection. Other ways commercials try to connect with viewers is by offering actual involvement. There will often be a chance to cast a vote online or contribute some type of content. This strategy is another one restaurant owners can adopt. Create a contest that allows diners to create a new menu item. The winner will not only have the chance to have their new dish added to the menu; their name will be prominently displayed as the contest winner. Both regular and new diners will flock into the restaurant to get their chance at local stardom.


It is no secret that the more creative a television ad is, the more interested viewers will be in it. There are commercials that ran in Super Bowls many years ago that people still discuss, solely because of their creativity. The infamous Apple commercial that depicted life a la the novel 1984 is still heralded as one of the most creative ads ever, and it is decades old. When you are promoting your restaurant think outside of the box as much as you can. This is where collaborating with other people in the restaurant will come in handy. When more people collaborate with a common goal in mind, creative ideas that will help promote the business will surely arise.


Timing really is everything. Super Bowl advertisers are willing to pay significantly higher rates to have prime commercial slots. Advertisers know that the commercials that air right before kickoff of each half are more likely to be seen than random commercials that happen during breaks between possessions. To get those prime spots costs money, but to advertisers, it is worth it to gain the additional exposure. Although you are working on a much smaller scale with your restaurant, you can apply the same principal. For example, if you have a have a large Roman Catholic clientele, you might promote a meat-free menu on Fridays during Lent. People will flock to your restaurant if you make them believe you are catering to their needs.

Restaurant owners can learn a lot from the Super Bowl. Even though you can’t learn to throw the ball like Payton Manning, you can take heed of the lessons that are provided by the advertisers. Now that the big game is over, use those lessons to promote your restaurant.