Treat Super Bowl as a seasonal event

January 16, 2012

The championship football game culminates a month of intense playoff excitement, fueled by foods.

Football fever is running hot, especially in cities where teams still contend for the Super Bowl. Football-shaped cakes, team merchandise, party platters, hot wings, heroes and cold beer are already more front and center.

When the big day arrives (February 5), will your stores reach their sales potential? Will they also perform well on playoff weekends leading up to the championship game, which are also lucrative parts of the same large opportunity. 

Supermarkets should approach the football playoffs as a major seasonal food event, we believe at The Lempert Report. Put it in the same league as Halloween, Easter and Thanksgiving. Why not? In some aspects, it might even be better because it lasts an entire month (at least on weekends). And it can involve many parts of the store.

So go beyond the “guy food” classics, and place fresh, pre-sliced produce near chips and dips. Push pistachios as well as peanuts. Sell serving trays shaped like footballs. Display avocadoes with tomatoes, onions and other guacamole ingredients. Have lots of salsa and hot sauces handy. Leverage football-themed brand promotions with incentives to buy other items and drive traffic throughout the store. Set up a grill section for people who want to “tailgate” at home.

These starter ideas make sense because, according to a Quick Poll in 2011, food carries the day – and it needs to appeal to everyone because most Super Bowl parties include men and women, and one-quarter include kids. The foods they expect to eat most are:  dips (58%), chips (57%), vegetables or fruit plates (54%), water (50%), chicken wings (47%), beer (44%), deli (39%), soda (36%), nachos (35%) and pizza (35%).

While the game is the main attraction for some (14%), 18% like the commercials and half-time show, 20% like the gathering with friends or family, 36% enjoy it all, and about one in 10 like none of it. Food is the element that brings it all together. With the right merchandising on the sales floor, supermarkets can win big.