Capturing the Super Bowl buzz
It is without a doubt, the apex of sports marketing globally.
More than 30 brands, from luxury cars to laundry detergent, paid as much as $3.8million for 30 seconds of airtime on the CBS network. This is an increase of 7.1 per cent from a year earlier and the most expensive ad rate in U.S. media.
From this side of the pond, the sheer scale of ad spend is fascinating. Super Bowl serves as a unique showcase for other brands to learn from; particularly in the UK, given Super Bowl’s growing footprint here. British viewing figures have doubled over the past half-decade. UK brands may want to consider how they can associate themselves with the event and generate conversations. The same lessons may also shape the way they approach other sponsorship deals.
A ‘Social’ Super Bowl
This year more than half of the Super Bowl ads included Twitter hashtags in their game-time spots. That’s up from just a handful of hashtags in Super Bowl ads last year. Second screening is now an established way of watching TV. A Nielsen study revealed that a third of people using Twitter are tweeting about content they’re watching.
Our analysis shows that, not only did people comment on the adverts over Twitter while watching the game but, in a sign of genuine digital interaction, many included the dedicated hashtags in their tweets; a clear sign that a brand has made an impact. Based on measuring hashtag penetration, it would appear that Budweiser’s heart-warming advert stole the show, prompting over 39,970 uses of its hashtag. The Doritos advert came second with over 34,500 uses of its hashtag, following the unveiling of its five finalists for its annual Crash the Super Bowl contest. The stylish Calvin Klein advert and the Wonderful Pistachios advert featuring South Korean pop-star Psy also got people tweeting. Their hashtags featured in over 31,870 and 26,260 tweets respectively.
It’s worth noting that in the construction of hashtags, simplicity is best. Generally, the more creative the hashtag, the more difficult it is to remember. Our analysis shows that hashtags with the actual brand name or a term closely associated with the brand featured highest in the trending tables.
The perfect match
We discovered that 16% of mentions of Super Bowl in discussions on Twitter Stateside and 8% of mentions in the UK related to the commercials. This is a significant proportion of the total conversations; given the big distractions on the night, including the game itself and Beyonce’s highly anticipated performance. Whilst this certainly provides a good reason to associate with Super Bowl, brands still need to carefully consider whether the return is worth the investment.
Our analysis shows that food and drinks brands seemed to capture the lion’s share of hashtag mentions – possibly because of their products’ affinity with the viewers, as they watch the game in a social setting. Beyond snacks, fast food giant Taco Bell caused one of the biggest spikes in mentions. However, companies from other industries need to consider how they can be part of the experience.
Another lesson for UK brands to consider is if you’re interested in creating social media buzz alone, don’t be afraid to be controversial. Go Daddy created one of the most discussed commercials overall and was a top trending topic on Twitter. There were more than 400,000 mentions of the commercial with the #TheAKiss hashtag accounting for more than 20,000 of these.
While reaction to the advert was fiercely divided, with 37% outraged with the company for broadcasting something that wasn’t perceived to be family-friendly, the uncensored version lit up Twitter and enabled the web company to stand out from the crowd. In fact, as a result of its commercial, the company announced its biggest sales day in history, with hosting sales jumping 45%, domain sales up 40% and new customers up by 35%.
Take the initiative
And finally, be brave. Within minutes of the power failing Oreo devised a simple image with the wording ‘you can still dunk in the dark’. This went viral and has been shared more than 100,000 times on Twitter and retweeted and favourited more than 18,000 times. The buzz around this ‘free’ advertising far exceeded the buzz around Oreo’s official Super Bowl advert, and was lauded for its immediacy. Decisions were made in real-time and the image was approved almost instantly.
Super Sunday essentially provides a masterclass in advertising. The adverts are clever, evocative and innovative. However, as the bar has been set uniformly high, only a handful will stand out from the crowd. Social media provides a means of gauging which ones resonated the most and why.
James Withey, head of brand insight, Precise