Smart operators gear up their stores for the Super Bowl, just like they do any holiday.

 

The Super Bowl and the convenience store, two great institutions born and raised in the United States, go together like peanut butter and jelly. Snacks, drinks, pizza, sausages…when you’re watching the Super Bowl, you’re more than likely doing it while consuming the best the c-store has to offer.

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Savvy operators make the most of this connection in the mind of the consumer, as they would any holiday containing unique, once-a-year profit potential. Super Bowl-specific promos, decorations, and merchandise become part of the retail mix. Some of the more notable ways c-stores capitalized on 2023’s Big Game are described in this article from CSP News. In addition, an article from Convenience Store News covers how suppliers supported c-stores in getting Super Bowl-related mecrchandise on the shelves.

Now while a football game usually breaks out during the hours alloted to the Super Bowl, those watching on TV understand that it provides fine viewing not just for sports fans, but for those that are retail marketing enthusasts. Yes. That’s right. The ads. They get as much attention as the game in some quarters, and for good reason: if you’re spending up to $7 million on a 30-second spot, you should make an effort to be memorable.

There were certainly more than enough willing advertisers for Super Bowl XLVII, despite the high price tag. This included many purveyors of c-store mechandise—often with celebrities attached to the message. These included Pepsi Zero Sugar (Steve Martin! Ben Stiller!), Michelob Ultra (Serena! Tony Romo!), Planter’s Peanuts (Mr. Peanut is back, baby!), and Ma&Ya’s (Oops! We mean M&M’s). Here’s a complete list of every national advertiser that appeared during Super Bowl LVII in the order in which they appeared last Sunday.

C-stores and fuel retailers are part of the Big Game mix, too, and have been from almost the beginning, as this advertisement for Gulf No Nox gas, that aired during Super Bowl II (1968), will attest. Do you remember Salt-N-Pepa’s Convenience Store video from last year? And this year, though you may not have seen it where you live, H-E-B grocery/c-stores advertised, appearing in local ad blocks around Texas. Tortillas were a point of emphasis.

The public’s sudden interest in ads is brief, but dominates the news feed the Monday after the game. On this day, critiques and rankings of commercials are as much a tradition as the ads themselves. Here are a few interesting ones, from a few different perspectives:

SSCS doesn’t advertise in the Super Bowl—at least, not yet—but we get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the clever ways that organizations in and around c-stores represent themselves to the public. It’s a display of the dynamics and creativity that energize our industry. What can we say? We’re fans, and we’re already waiting to see what everyone comes up with next year!


[1] Uber Eats said 30 percent of their orders during Super Bowl 56 were from convenience stores, a value that was poised to grow this year.