Activation Gallery: Super Bowl/Football


Late January and February each year is the time for National Football League sponsors such as PepsiCo/Frito-Lay to command attention at retail with spectacular displays. Other NFL sponsors and many other CPG brands activate as well, trying to become part of consumer game-watching parties. While this scenario played out again in 2021, Path to Purchase Institute editors noticed that displays were not quite as ubiquitous as usual, surely due to the effects of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. That said, we still found plenty of activations to share, both in stores and online. Here is a sampling of activity. Institute members can see many more examples of football and Super Bowl-related activations in the image vault at


Mars Wrigley Confectionery activated its official NFL sponsorship by staging a national “Candy Call It” sweepstakes with account-specific execution through Walmart and Amazon. The manufacturer commanded prime upfront positioning in Walmart stores with both a full pallet display and two types of half-pallets that engaged shoppers with a clear, “Don’t just watch the game, play the game” call to action. On, a Super Bowl tab within Mars’ brand shop prominently touted the sweeps and offered “add to cart” and other buying options for participating items, a recipe for Snickers “football treats” and a tabletop game idea incorporating Skittles. Mars also activated its sponsorship for “Share with your squad” ads running throughout that did not reference the sweeps.


a bunch of items that are on display in a store

Spectaculars from Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light invited shoppers at Kroger’s Fred Meyer chain to “bring home the Super Bowl party.” The display comprised standees and a header positioned on case stacks activating the brand’s NFL sponsorship.

graphical user interface

Procter & Gamble activated its NFL sponsorship at Walgreens with a digital circular feature that promoted BOGO and myWalgreens Cash rewards offers on Gillette shaving products. The feature dropped concurrently with P&G’s football-themed “brandSaver” FSI event in late January.


PepsiCo/Frito-Lay enjoyed secondary merchandising space at Meijer via Super Bowl LV-themed spectaculars positioned along the retailer’s action alley and in the front of the store. One of the spectaculars featured elaborate headers depicting football helmets and signage plugging a “Countdown to Crunchtime” sweepstakes awarding $100,000 to four grand-prize winners.


PepsiCo/Frito-Lay’s massive activation package included several football-themed displays at Walmart. Some locations erected upfront spectaculars merchandising beverages plus chips and dip while touting Pepsi’s sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show, “Countdown to Crunchtime” promotion and even its Lipton ready-to-drink products. Prime locations also boasted archways activating the manufacturer’s NFL sponsorship.

a group of people in a store

BJ’s Wholesale Club went big with displays in stores, mainly from NFL sponsor PepsiCo/Frito-Lay. The manufacturer commanded attention with another “Countdown to Crunchtime” spectacular that included an archway positioned above other party essentials like beer and paper plates near store entrances, as well as with game time-themed endcaps and pallet displays.

a display in a store

PepsiCo/Frito-Lay also activated its NFL sponsorship at ShopRite via spectaculars drumming up support for the Super Bowl halftime show.

graphical user interface, website

Sam’s Club teamed with PepsiCo/Frito-Lay to run a bulk-purchase incentive and promote a virtual event with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn ahead of the big game. The incentive promised Sam’s Club members a $5 e-gift card with purchase of $25 in qualifying Pepsi, Lipton, Gatorade, Frito-Lay or Quaker products online or in stores. Support included Sam’s Club email ads, website display and carousel ads, and an account-specific microsite.

graphical user interface

Select Albertsons chains collaborated with PepsiCo/Frito-Lay on a weekly “Rush in to Win” sweepstakes that leveraged the retailer’s Just for U loyalty program to spotlight a new digital coupon for a participating product each week, such as $1 off the purchase of two qualifying Pepsi or Tostitos SKUs. Loyalty members automatically received one entry into the sweeps for each coupon redeemed in stores or online during the promotional period. Support spanned signage in stores, circular features and a corresponding microsite as well as dedicated ads and an e-commerce shop within chain websites.

a can of food

Dollar General endcaps stocking PepsiCo/Frito-Lay SKUs were outfitted with signage activating the manufacturer’s NFL sponsorship and promising shoppers $2 off the combined purchase of one product each from Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay. Aisle violators also plugged the offer, which ran from Dec. 13, 2020, through Feb. 13.

logo, company name

PepsiCo/Frito-Lay commanded attention at Publix stores ahead of the game with signage communicating the halftime show. One sign invited shoppers to “purchase” specially marked packages, “scan” a QR code on limited-edition Pepsi cans and “unlock” exclusive artist and show assets and augmented reality filters.

graphical user interface

Fifth Generation’s Tito’s Handmade Vodka enjoyed secondary merchandising at Meijer stores via pallet displays outfitted with 3-D corrugate toppers resembling a football stadium filled with vodka bottles.

a store inside of a building

Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay’s Pepsi activated their NFL sponsorships at Bethesda, Maryland-based Total Wine & More. Bud Light headers and standees encouraged shoppers to “Bring Home the Super Bowl party,” while Pepsi arches (not pictured) labeled its products as “Made for Football Watching.”


Mondelez International deployed “touchdown snacks”-themed floorstands at ShopRite – and many other retailers – that stocked Ritz SKUs and directed shoppers to for ideas on entertaining and recipes such as “Triscuit cauliflower nachos,” “Ritz Asian pulled pork sliders” and “Oreo no-bake margarita bars.”


In an interesting placement decision spotted at one Walmart store in California, game day-themed floorstands from Mission Foods outfitted with a base wrap were sandwiched between racks of footwear on clearance.

diagram, calendar

Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Food division used a digital circular feature to invite shoppers to “Create a winning snack spread” with Kellogg Co. products. The feature dangled a free chicken wing bucket from the retailer’s prepared food section with a $10 purchase of participating SKUs from Cheez-It, Town House, Club and Pringles. The offer ran for two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.