Not a huge American football fan? The Super Bowl Sunday can still mean super business for your print on demand store.
103.4 million people tuned in to watch the Philadelphia Eagles crush the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in February 2018.
The game is still the most watched programme on TV every year. For savvy eCommerce entrepreneurs, Super Bowl is much more than just a sporting event – it represents a huge opportunity to get in on the Super Bowl action and generate some sweet sales.
It is estimated that US consumers spent around $15.3 billion on Super Bowl related purchases in 2018,
which include foods and beverages, apparel, game-related merchandise, decorations and similar items.
Besides that, 1.35 billion wings were eaten by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday last year – fyi, 35 million wings is enough to circle the Earth three times.
Everything about Super Bowl screams money. And yet, you don’t need a fancy TV ad to take a piece of the Super Bowl sales – a couple of smart marketing and Super Bowl print on demand tactics orchestrated in advance can help you leverage your products and drive traffic to your store. And even if you don’t see a massive ROI immediately, it’s a unique opportunity to get brand exposure and drive more engagement through social media.
So where can you start? Use this Super Bowl print on demand guide to explore the best strategies and ideas that can help you capitalize on the Super Bowl opportunity.
Super Bowl Design Tips
#1 Work around the copyright limitations
When you’re creating a design for a sports event but can’t use any of the team logos or team pictures, the options might feel limited. But that’s not true! While you’ll need to expand your creative horizons and approach the challenge from a different angle, there are numerous print on demand design concepts that can prove to be lucrative. Instead of focusing on copyrighted elements, explore things like legendary events or interesting facts about Super Bowl.
Here are a few quick ideas that could be developed into cool design concepts:
- You could create something around the future Super Bowl sites: 2020 South Florida; 2021 Tampa, Florida; 2022 Los Angeles; 2023 Glendale, Arizona
- Exploring some of the most memorable events could turn out to be profitable, too. Think back to moments like Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”, 1250 people left without seats at the Cowboy Stadium in 2011 or the power cut at the Super Dome during Beyonce’s halftime performance in 2013.
- Another obvious one to pursue is the greatest moments in Super Bowl history. Whether it’s a game-winning helmet catch or the “we’re No. 1” raised index finger to celebrate a monumental victory – there are plenty of indelible memories that can make punchy designs. Here’s an example from the Steel City shop.
Image Source: Steel City
- You can also go for something funkier, like the 1.35 billion wings that Americans eat over the Super Bowl weekend. Other extremely popular Super Bowl foods include potato chips, tortilla chips, meat snacks, popcorn, deli salads, cheese snacks, deli sandwiches, salty snack dips, deli platters and vegetable trays.
#2 Habits, sayings or peculiar behaviours can be a great inspiration
Football fans are famous for shouting at their TVs – in fact, it’s one of the most easily recognisable behaviours of any sports fan. If you start studying the habits, behaviours and sayings of American football fans, you’re bound to stumble on some wicked ideas. For example, some of the best known sayings include:
- One team, one dream
- Always earned, never given
- Some wish for it, we work for it
- It isn’t hours you put in, but what you put in the hours
- Play hard, smart and together
- If it’s going to be, it’s up to me
- 11 Players, 1 heartbeat
- Attitude is everything
- This time it’s personal
- Pride and passion
And many more!
Tapping into people’s habits or behaviours could also be a successful strategy for driving sales and creating buzz. But what type of habits are we talking here?
One survey found that Americans like to gear up for the Super Bowl Sunday and get really particular about food and entertainment:
- 27% of respondents said they were planning on having a potluck;
- 20% of respondents said they were planning to serve a luxury spread, with specialty cocktails or themed décor;
- 9% identify as the good guest, attending a party with a dish/beverage to pass;
- 49% said they were planning to serve hot dogs or burgers, while 27% said they were going to serve subs and sandwiches;
- 12% said the half-time show is their top highlight.
Depending on the types of commercials aired during the half-time, sports fans tend to do quite a bit searching and shopping online – especially for the things they see in the ads. For instance, last year’s commercials inspired shoppers to browse digital stores for everything from snacks to smart devices and travel.
This could be the ultimate opportunity for savvy online entrepreneurs to jump on search trend with a witty social media post, hashtag or graphic.
Studies have also shown that sales in the sporting category tend to skyrocket right after the end of the show, shooting up by 422% compared to an average Sunday in January.
#3 Colour your Super Bowl designs with the right colour combos
Colour is a hugely powerful tool in a creative designer’s arsenal. Even if you can’t explicitly mention the name of the team or use their official logo, you can still make your designs easily recognisable by leveraging the right colour combinations. The same goes for the helmet designs – if you’re able to replicate the basic design elements, you can use that framework to create something similar enough to be recognisable yet creative enough to pass as fan work.
Here are the NFL team helmet designs.
Can you extract some elements and combine them with something else to create a Super Bowl-themed design?
Image Source: Sportskeeda
Caps lend themselves beautifully to sports merchandise. Although using logos is a big no-no, you can still make the most out of team colours and add a creative twist to your designs – whether something funny, inspirational or tied to a historic Super Bowl moment.
Image Source: Intotheendzone
Before you start creating any print on demand designs, though, do some research around each team’s fan base – how large and active is it? This will help you determine your audience size and preferences as well as gauge the sales potential. You should also pay attention to betting sites and sport analysts’ predictions – placing more creative energy on front-runners promises to yield better results.
#4 Have a go at creating humble mashups
Another genius workaround that allows you to create awesome designs without infringing any copyright law is known as the mashup.
There’s a very simple formula for creating kickass mashups:
Popular thing (element) + Popular thing (element) = New Merch
What’s that exactly?
It’s a combination of two different but popular sources (characters, songs, quotes, videos, clothing, etc.) often to a unique (and sometimes hilarious) effect.
The best way to understand this concept is to look at some creative examples.
For instance, take Trump’s iconic haircut and mash it up with a trending type of food (in this case, the legendary donut).
Image Source: Amazon
Or, take Trump’s haircut and combine it with a trending phrase (or the opinion polls, for that matter) and you have a cool merchandise design.
Image Source: Amazon
How to use trending moments to reach a wider audience in real-time?
Speed is one of the fundamental requirements for stealing the thunder online during Super Bowl moments. With so much information and content uploaded every second, it’s critical to be part of the right conversation at the right time – whether by using trending hashtags, tagging relevant people or conversing in relevant groups.
Remember the famous Oreo tweet?
That’s what we mean when we say you need speed to achieve the highest impact.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) 4 February 2013
Size of your Audience
And just as important as the speed of reaction is the size of your audience. If you manage to achieve traction with your post with your own audience, it’s much more likely that they will share it with their network, helping you get more exposure and reach a wider audience.
Humor can also prove to be instrumental in garnering more engagement and achieving traction – but only when it feels natural and isn’t too salesy.
Pharell’s hat offers a neat example (you remember the bonkers hat, right?)
Arby’s, a well-known sandwich shop, jumped on the trending topic by sending Pharell a very simple but super witty tweet that landed them right into the center of that conversation.
— Arby's (@Arbys) 27 January 2014
The key thing to remember when engaging in real-time marketing is to stay authentic and true to your brand. There’s nothing more painful and cringe-worthy to watch than a brand trying to weave themselves into a conversation with an unoriginal post or graphic. Your brand will influence the topics you can explore and how you do that – and if it doesn’t make sense for you to talk about something, even if it’s a really hot topic, better leave it alone.
Take, for example, this royal mess-up from Delta Airlines. In an attempt to promote their flights to Accra, Ghana’s capital, during the 2014 World Cup, they posted the game’s final score with images indicating 2 goals for the US (the Statue of Liberty) and one goal for Ghana (the giraffe). The mistake? Giraffes don’t live in Ghana.
Look at the Super Bowl as an opportunity to get your brand and designs in front of many many more eyeballs, but remember that this kind of exposure carries a lot of risks, too – one silly mistake and you’ll become the butt of a joke.
What types of products will best work with your designs?
Running a print-on-demand online store means you can quickly transfer your designs from a t-shirt to a mug to a tote bag without having to resize it or worry about any technical details. It also means there are no production costs attached to the diversification of your merch portfolio – add as many different products as you think your store needs at no extra cost.
Simply head to our Print On Demand catalog to select the types of products that best match the sports category and are aligned with industry trends and consumer demand. The types of products that often make it to the bestselling lists include:
- Zip hoodies
- Jersey t-shirts
- Caps & hats
- Baby bibs
- Baby bodysuits
- Tote bags
- Metal Pins
- Phone cases
- Shower curtains
And many more!
Plus, when you’re using print on demand model, you don’t need to worry about disposing of the Super Bowl merchandise that names the wrong champion – you just need to keep your designs ready and fire them out at the right time.
Whereas traditional businesses that seek to fulfil the immediate post-game demand for winning team’s gear have to design it and manufacture it in advance. This inevitably means that a lot of those items go to waste or are donated to overseas communities that couldn’t care less about the Super Bowl Sunday.
A quick intro to copyright and copyright infringement: there are some taboos that you shouldn’t challenge
In the world of print on demand, ‘copyright’ is a touchy subject that tends to cause quite a bit of confusion. Before leaving you to create your next bestselling Super Bowl design, we wanted to give you a quick rundown of the key points about copyright and merchandise design.
As defined legally, copyright is “the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material”. This means that only the person who holds the copyright can use “the work” to make profit.
It’s important to note that copyright law doesn’t cover ideas, sayings, phrases, concepts or any other “intangible” assets. A copyright can only apply to something that has been created – a song, book, logo or artwork design.
Let’s cover some of the most burning questions.
1. Can I use logos of the teams?
No, both pictures and artworks of sports teams are off limits and would be considered a copyright infringement.
2. What if I tweak the logos a little bit or redraw them myself?
Still no as it it might confuse consumer into thinking this was created by copyright/trademark holder.
4. Can I use names of the sports teams?
No, a team’s name is a trademark.
5. Can I use a short version of the team name? Like Patriots instead of The New England Patriots?
It’s a no. Consumer confusion is at the core of trademark protection. If the design you create leads a consumer to think that it is related to the team, you’ll be infringing on their trademark/copyright.
6. Can I use the NFL or Super Bowl logo?
No, it’s a trademark.
7. A lot of people seem to be doing that anyways. What’s the real potential damage?
The copyright or trademark holder has the right to take you to court. However, that’s an expensive and time-consuming thing to do, so many choose to send a Cease and Desist letter. This letter will most likely get your design taken off the platform you’re selling on and you might even have your merchant’s account deactivated.
Get your Super Bowl game on!
There’s no doubt that Super Bowl is one of the biggest sales opportunities for print on demand merchants. With the whole country going on pre-game and post-game shopping sprees, it would be completely unentrepreneurial to ignore the events and potential profits.
The best thing about using a POD model is that you don’t need to invest into any stock. Your main costs are your research and design time.
Now, when it comes to creating trendy and totally profitable Super Bowl designs, follow these simple tips:
- Work around the copyright limitations by harnessing things like memorable events and the greatest Super Bowl moments.
- Use people’s habits, sayings and peculiar behaviours as a source of inspiration for your designs.
- Capitalise on the right colour combos to fire fans’ imagination.
- Have a go at creating relevant, unique mashups.
- Choose the right types of POD products to cater to fans’ demand.
- Don’t infringe on trademarks and copyrights to keep yourself out of trouble.