Social Media and the Super Bowl Adverts

Late on Sunday night (into Monday morning) I watched Super Bowl 50 – the final game of the American Football season, contested this year by the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

In case you’re interested, the Broncos won (which was fitting given it will probably be Quarterback Peyton Manning’s last game) but I’m guessing that you either know this already – or don’t care.

As with every Super Bowl, the social media conversations across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were rife – with considerable online chat debating not just the game itself, but also covering the widely anticipated Super Bowl Commercials – all the TV adverts shown (mainly to an American audience) during the many commercial breaks and half time show.

By Monday morning, 10 of the most popular commercials had been collectively shared online almost 3 million times, and that’s not counting all the commentary and banter (the social back-chat) that surrounded them.

The Clear winner of the night was Doritos, and their “Ultrasound” advert – shared nearly 900,000 times before the game had finished.  Budweiser (normally the top-spot) had to settle for third place, as their “Give a Damn” advert (fronted by Helen Mirren) was shared just over 300,000 times.

Video shares are however only one measure of success – take Pepsi for example, and their commercial which aired just before the (Pepsi Sponsored) half-time show (featuring Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars).  Based on Video shares, it didn’t make the official “top 10 most viral video ads”.  It did however generate a massive 486,000 ‘brand related’ tweets by the next day, compared to Doritos with 338,000 similar mentions on Twitter.

But even Pepsi failed to hit the big Twitter numbers that Insurance brand Esurance generated.  By Monday morning, they had encouraged over 2Million people to tweet using their hashtag.  It helped that people were entered into a competition to win $1 million – online freebies and giveaways always help boost initial awareness, and their challenge of course will be to turn this volume into longer term success.

Personally – my favourite Superbowl advert on the night was from Heinz Ketchup, and their ‘Wiener Stampede’.  It basically involved lots of little Sausage dogs running towards people in Ketchup Bottle suits – you kind of have to see it to appreciate it, so take a watch below:

We ourselves tried to get in on the Super Bowl fun, by creating a “Super Bowl Ad-Break Spoiler” video of our own.  It won’t  win any awards, and will certainly never be screened on the telly, but that was kind of the point – a “quick and dirty” (planned, filmed, edited, and made live in just over 12 hours) parody of all the adverts together.  Uploaded to YouTube on Saturday morning, and with a very modest budget behind it, achieving over 12,000 views (and a fair volume of social chat) over the weekend and during the game itself, across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If nothing else, our video is proof that any organisation can make a decent quality video, get it in front of a targeted audience (we were only aiming for people with an interest in the Super Bowl), and achieve some level of results.  In retrospect, with better planning and more time to prepare – we’d have given more consideration to the question “what next?”  What do we actually want these 12,000 people to do other than watch a fun silly video.  What business benefit or objective are we looking to achieve.  How will they convert longer term into customers, fans, or brand advocates.  In truth – we didn’t consider any of this – we just wanted to make a silly video on a Friday.  And sometimes – that’s reason enough.


More elsewhere: See the 10 most viral ads from Super Bowl 50

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