Pitch deck: Inside TikTok’s pursuit of Super Bowl ad dollars

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If TikTok has its way, 2024 will be the year it finally has its Super Bowl moment.

With less than two weeks to go until the big game, the app’s executives are working hard to persuade marketers that it’s the prime destination for their ad dollars — pre-game, during and post-game. That is, if they’re willing to foot the hefty bill.

Advertising on TikTok doesn’t come cheap, and the Super Bowl only intensifies that. For one video featuring a former or current NFL star like Odell Beckham Jr. or Russell Wilson, whom TikTok can connect advertisers with, the price tag ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 for a limited period of 60 days.

And that’s just the beginning. TikTok is urging marketers to think bigger, encouraging them to view advertising during the game not just as an opportunity for views but also as a means to drive sales, which inevitably entails investing more in ad formats.

To achieve this, the platform’s ad execs are pitching marketers multiple strategies, including premium ad placement, TikTok Pulse’s capability to run ads alongside trending sports content, and the incorporation of branded content from creators through crowdsourcing. This broader ad strategy blends promotional content with fan-generated content, creating a holistic approach to advertising.

Not surprisingly, TikTok is sticking to its strategy from the previous year, aiming to fill the void seemingly left by X. The Musk-owned social network, once the go-to for the event’s buzz, is continuously bogged down in controversy, causing ad dollars to dry up. TikTok enjoyed a considerable windfall from this situation last year, benefiting from substantial spending by Super Bowl advertisers like Frito-Lay, Pringles, and State Farm. TikTok’s ad execs are once again eager to claim a share of those budgets in the days ahead.

Their pitch deck makes their intentions crystal clear. In fact, it’s almost like reading a document from Twitter’s heyday back in 2012, if you squint hard enough. It’s loaded with headlining grabbing stats about sports, citing data from research firms such as Nielsen and PricewaterhouseCoopers — like 75% of TikTok users in the U.S. identify as sports fans — but also emphasizes the future of online sports content: short, bite-sized clips. Oh, and it also pledges to help marketers cut “through the noise.”

No doubt about it, TikTok is vying to dominate the second-screen narrative that X once ruled. However, it’s important to note that TikTok is adding its own unique twist to the playbook. Chiefly, through its use of creators. 

“While X is offering everything from ad credits to supported incentives it’s just not a place many brands want to be right now,” said Elijah Schneider, CEO of creative media agency, Modifly. “TikTok is where the people are and rule number one of advertising is go where your demographic spends their time.”

This is where TikTok plans to differentiate itself from other platforms, past and present. By harnessing the power of creators to craft entertaining content that captures the attention of people, especially younger sports fans, during moments they’re not watching the game or its celebrated commercial breaks.

To make this happen, TikTok is acting as a matchmaker, connecting advertisers with the likes of Beckham Jr. and Wilson. These deals come in two different formats: firstly, linking the advertiser with one of its partner agencies to execute the campaign on their behalf—though there’s a catch, as a minimum $20,000 expenditure is expected if marketers opt for TikTok’s Creative Exchange service, which is the platform’s creator network. Alternatively, for marketers who prefer a more hands-on approach, TikTok facilitates direct negotiations with the athlete’s agent, with a recommended media spend of $10,000.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Delve deeper, and TikTok’s pursuit of Super Bowl ad dollars reveals more about its strategy for the sports world. Much like Netflix, its ambitions run parallel to live sports rather than head-on. It aims to be the go-to destination for sports fans when they’re not watching the game — the ultimate hub for fandom.

“Tickets, travel, and other expenses make attending games like the Super Bowl cost prohibitive and only for those that can afford it,” said Malcolm Buick, chief officer and partner at brand studio Athletics. “TikTok allows a more “sports in your pocket” experience, making sports content accessible to everyone. TikTok’s short, engaging videos let users join sports conversations, challenges, and trends, creating a community feel. This inclusivity aligns with TikTok’s goal of fostering creativity and connections.”

View the full pitch deck below:


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