Yesterday, we bore witness to one of the greatest sporting events in the history of the modern age. A clash of titans, as it were…the New York Giants slugged it out against the New England Patriots and emerged to come out victorious in what is now being called the most-watched television program in US history and also the highest-rated Super Bowl in 26 years! Congratulations to the New York Giants!
But while we remember the game, let’s not forget all the other news that are happening around the Internet simultaneously as the big game. Not only was this the first time the Super Bowl was livestreamed on the Internet to mobile and tablet devices (leading to more viewership, I’m sure), there seemed to be a greater play on social media by not only the NFL and the NBC Network, but also advertisers too. Twitter reported today that the service set a record for the most tweets sent per second (TPS): 12,233 tweets! That’s an amazing amount since in 2008 during the Super Bowl, it was 27 TPS, and in 2011, it was 4,064 TPS. Of course, this massive record of tweets per second occurred during the last three minutes which is when Twitter says an average of 10,000 TPS were sent. But what does this all translate into? Well during the Super Bowl, there were 13.7 million related tweets sent out during the five hour game. These numbers are absolutely staggering!
And what about the other part of the game? The so-called “Brand Bowl”? Well some of them did very well in terms of the conversation, but it’s a bit of a mixed reaction. First, let’s see which of the brands succeeded in getting the most comments:
In Advertising Age this morning, Bluefin Labs analyzed data of all the television commercials to see which one of them earned a spot in the top 10 highest rated spots with the most response. It should be noted that Bluefin only reviewed content pushed on two major networks: Twitter and Facebook. I wonder how these would be changed with Google+ or on social sporting networks like on OnShare?
Regardless, each ad was tracked for 45-minutes after it began to air and what’s surprising is that one of the first commercials to air during the game was the David Beckham H&M underwear commercial and received 108,914 comments – a sign that the first is the best? Either that, or sex sells…
Not surprising, Chrysler’s hit ad featuring Dirty Harry himself, actor/director Clint Eastwood in “It’s Halftime in America” was a rousing success with over 95,000 comments and came in second. It was definitely one of the big winners of the evening and people are STILL talking about it today! But nowhere on this list was the GoDaddy commercial – perhaps a sign that after years of the racy ads, the public is getting tired about ripping on them and decided there’s much more worthy commercials to talk about?
Perhaps the biggest stumble in the “Brand Bowl” this year was the use of the hashtag in commercials. In light of the McDonald’s hashtag debacle, it might not have seemed good to throw out a hashtag unless you were 100% sure that your commercial would ellicit the response you were hoping for. Some had a pretty good chance at positive reactions, like the Audi vampire commercial (#solongvampires) and the Bud Light Platinum (#MakeItPlatinum), but then there were others like GE’s commercial with the hashtag #whatworks — a friend of mine said that he would tweet out “#whatworks not this commercial”. Hashtags were genuinely a gamble for advertisers in an attempt to get into the social scene.
But did advertisers really embrace the role of social media this Super Bowl? According to the Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis, maybe not and they’ve discovered five interesting trends out of the 87 advertisements:
- Brands heavily invested in promoting their traditional websites
- Many did not promote a call-to-action
- Only a sixth of ads explicitly promoted social media
- Hashtag marketing emerged to stimulate continual engagement
- Cutting edge marketers teased with new marketing tactics, including Shazam
So while I think that the hashtag attempt on commercials was a fumble, it’s a trend of the Super Bowl nevertheless. But is anyone still surprised at any of these trends? The website is here to stay and advertisers will continue to push people to them just like they asked them to call their 800 numbers for several decades. There are a few risky marketers who will ask people to tweet at them using the hashtag, but if anything, the Super Bowl is showing us that advertisers are starting to be a slightly bit more innovative in how they reach people, especially on television. Just take a look at this breakdown from the Altimeter Group:
Maybe the 32% of brands during the Super Bowl were airing ads more as brand promotion, but the question is why aren’t you giving your customers something more to take away from it? Even those commercials that asked viewers to use Shazam were giving them a song that would forever be associated with their commercial (lasting branding) and also invited them to rate their commercial (feedback), but by not doing anything like that leaves much to be desired.
So I leave you with this fascinating tip from the Altimeter Group report: promoting traditional websites still king with brands while social integration is “nascent”. Yes, that’s right…brands seem to be gun-shy at using social media to help converse with their customers and the viewers. If anything, the most successful commercials from last night will become viral and people will be talking about it. But will the brands actually be listening?
Photo Credit: Football field by Juggernautco/Flickr