#FentyBowl Roundup

How Rihanna Made the NFL Halftime Show Her Own Full-Scale Marketing Strategy
Influencer Marketing
4 Minutes
Ju Yi Wong
February 15, 2023

Rihanna gloriously became the hot topic of the past month when it was announced that she will headline 2023’s Super Bowl Halftime show – making it her first public performance after nearly 7 years. As a Riri-loyalist from her “Pon De Replay” days, I personally have been waiting for this day very seriously, and very religiously.

Other than her surprise pregnancy announcement (okay, A$AP Rocky!), some other top mentions across social media during the #FentyBowl include a timeless 12-track, no-feature-artist performance (Only Girl In The World, indeed), purposeful camerawork, her energetic ASL interpreter and Riri promoting her billion-dollar makeup empire, Fenty Beauty, with zero cost. Peak Rihanna behaviour is what we call it.

According to data from Meltwater, Google searches for “Fenty Beauty” soared by 883% since her 13+ minute performance on 12th Feb. Further observations from experts noted that the 3-second product placement was not planned (re: peak Rihanna behaviour), alongside a calendared lineup of Fenty x NFL pre- and-post-performance social media content on the brand’s pages, PLUS a whole limited-edition Game Day collection of Fenty Beauty makeup ($12–$76) teased since last month. From football-shaped makeup sponges to football-textured packaging and stickers, Rihanna’s elaborate campaign has been contrived from the get-go.

Did I make a US purchase for some of this limited-edition NFL-labelled makeup despite not being an NFL enthusiast? Obviously.

According to data from Launchmetrics, her 3-second product placement mid-performance generated roughly $5.6 million in Media Impact Value (MIV). Her all-white ensemble of dancers dressed in Savage x Fenty (Rihanna’s clothing brand) was estimated to have made an additional $2.6 million in MIV. 

This year’s Super Bowl has also become the official winner in viewership, averaging an impressive 113 million viewers, increasing 1% from the previous year and standing as the broadcast’s highest viewership in six years

Viewing evidently peaked during Riri‘s Halftime performance, averaging about 118.7 million viewers, making it the second most-watched Halftime show on record, behind Katy Perry’s 2015 performance.

More data from CARMA media analysis indicates that brand sentiments were mostly positive as Fenty Beauty is a near-six-year global favourite and commands huge support from consumers online (94.9% of which are millennials and Gen Z’s).

Famous for expanding inclusivity in their range of products, Fenty Beauty’s iconic brand x NFL-related TikTok videos have garnered up to 13 million views alone, with an array of beauty creators making Fenty-sponsored appearances at the game.  

In fact, the most engaged Fenty Beauty x NFL TikTok content was posted by the recently-controversial creator, Mikayla Noguiera. Seated front row at the game with other renown American beauty creators, Glamzilla and Bretman Rock, Mikayla’s here-for-Rihanna video garnered 14.3 million views and counting

Mikayla recently caused a conversational storm on TikTok for apparent false advertising of a particular beauty product, hitting up to 56.2 million views on the said sponsored video. With her front-row invite to the game, this further stamps the notion that influencers will continue to remain relevant even despite contentious advertorial footing every now and then, as they will still be contributing massively to brand SOV online.

As an audience-first business, Rihanna’s approach cements the powerful ways in which creators uplift brand initiatives – moving away from traditional, overly promotional “influencer” marketing strategies, but rather really tapping into the true creative prowess that both creators/celebrities and their teams possess when coming together to connect with an audience. 

It’s important to also note that Rihanna was apparently not paid for the gig despite the main partner, Apple, reportedly paying $250 million for the rights to the Super Bowl Halftime Show. 

Particularly for a performance she wasn't [getting] paid for, Rihanna executed an opportunity to build brand equity masterfully using content creators, worldwide stage placement, and her own electrifying performance,” said Weldon Fung, SEA director of Meltwater.

Considering the level of talkability and hype the mogul generated – whether for herself, her brands or the NFL altogether, Rihanna’s strategic planning is a digital marketing precedent in its own right as she leverages her ultimate trifecta power of celebrity, influencer and business owner. 

As an ultimate Fenty Beauty follower, supreme Rihanna listener and long-standing influencer marketer, we definitely, definitely think she got her money. 

Curious to know more about our advocacy & influencer marketing plans? Schedule a chat today!