The Super Bowl According to Social

Posted by Campos on 2/7/17 3:29 PM, Last updated 12/19/2018

Not only did the Patriots pull off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to win the game, but the Falcons also got blitzed by the Pats in social mentions on Twitter, blogs, and forums, from Super Bowl Sunday to midday yesterday.

The Patriots brought in nearly 4 million mentions on social media, whereas the Falcons were just shy of 1 million mentions, at 980,000. The Falcons squeaked by, though, in sentiment: analyzed per team mentions, a slight majority of social Super Bowl commentary on the team was positive, in contrast to feelings about the Pats, at 4-in-10. 

Social-Media-Sentiment-SuperBowlBased on our analysis of data sourced and aggregated with Sysomos

Being an Indianapolis Colts fan, I had no real investment in the game itself this year, but the marketer in me couldn't wait to attack the ad data, particularly what people were saying online.

First, a look at how the cost to advertisers has increased over the years. This year, a 30-second spot had a price tag of $5M. The chart below shows a snapshot of the rise in cost for TV ad time, from 1967’s modest price point of $40,000 (still a deal at $287,568.39 in today's dollars) to date. Brands that aired spots during the game spanned from first-timers, like Pittsburgh’s very own 84 Lumber Company, to familiar favorites like Pepsi and Coca-Cola


Several brands clinched a trophy in terms of social media buzz among consumers. Of the more than 45 commercials that ran during this year’s Super Bowl, the following brands ranked in the top 10 for the number of mentions on Twitter, blogs, and forums when the brand was mentioned with the phrase “Super Bowl LI”.

Anheuser-Busch aired three different spots this year, but it was Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” that came out on top, with nearly 85,000 mentions in the last two days. Compared to some of the top national brands in the U.S., 84 Lumber had impressive levels of mentions. There was such a huge response (positive and negative) that the microsite to view the whole ad crashed within minutes of the commercial being aired! 

Number of Mentions per Brand on Twitter, Blogs, and Forums (2/5-6/2017)Super-Bowl-Brand-Mentions-Social-Media

Based on our analysis of data sourced and aggregated with Sysomos

There was a clear split in the brand messaging this year. Some went for humor mixed in with the use of celebrities, versus others that spoke to the importance of unity and tolerance in society. It is clear that both approaches are reactions to the current socio-political climate: comic relief from political headlines, versus thought-provoking stories about the issues at hand today. Humor and “big hugs” are among the ways that brands are toeing the tribal boundaries people are setting. We are tracking that boundary-setting and associated behaviors as one of our top trends for 2017, Social Warfare (which we blogged on last week).

Whether you were were rolling on the floor laughing at Melissa McCarthy crashing through an iceberg, or inspired by Audi’s message of equal pay for women, this year’s Super Bowl ads provided a needed break from our social battlegrounds–and Brady!

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Super Bowl Ad Costs graph: Business Insider

Topics: Market Research

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