On Sunday, Rihanna made her debut at the 2023 Super Bowl following a seven-year performance hiatus after releasing her last major project ANTI in 2016. While an unexpected pregnancy reveal surprised fans, it wasn’t the only aspect of her performance that sent the internet into a frenzy. The business mogul’s cosmetic line Fenty Beauty made sure to steal the show, even if it was for a brief cameo.
During the highly anticipated halftime performance, Rihanna strategically used a perfectly timed moment in between songs to touch up her makeup with the help of Fenty Beauty’s Invisimatte Setting + Blotting Powder. The product placement took place for just three seconds with no clear branding, but it was enough to position Fenty as the most talked about brand on social media, with #FentyBowl trending on Twitter.
To add to this, according to Brandwatch, mentions of the brand increased on both Twitter and TikTok by 717%. While positive sentiment increased by 781%, with 56% of mentions using joyous language, demonstrating audience excitement. Despite Rihanna receiving zero payment for her halftime spot, Launchmetrics reported her performance resulted in $5.6 million in earned media in the first 12 hours for Fenty Beauty, and $2.6 million for her clothing business Savage x Fenty.
And this isn’t credited to her performance alone. In the lead up to and off the back of the Super Bowl show, Fenty’s social channels have been working overtime to produce reactive content.
Ahead of the Super Bowl, the brand posted a video on TikTok that went viral and also sold a limited collection of Super Bowl-themed beauty products. Meanwhile, the aftermath has seen the Fenty marketing team contribute to the flurry of memes surrounding Rihanna’s dancers, troll the demand from disappointed fans who were expecting a “special guest” and a video using TikTok’s comment reply feature to share products used in the singer’s makeup look.
For a cultural impact that would have cost brands $7 million, Rihanna leveraged performance to plug Fenty Beauty for free - now, that’s what we call marketing genius.