For marketers, the Super Bowl is played off the field during commercial breaks and, increasingly, on social media.
The 2015 Super Bowl was the most discussed ever on both Facebook and Twitter, with about 65 million people talking about it on Facebook and 28.4 million tweets sent between kickoff and a half hour after the game.
It’s not just brands with costly ads to support getting in on the social media game, either. Plenty of non-advertisers are attracting eyeballs with “game day” posts on social. With that in mind, Marketing had Antelope, which tracks the way consumers interact with brands for the likes of Shoppers Drug Mart and McDonald’s and agencies like Sid Lee and Publicis, crunch the numbers and compare the most popular posts by both sponsors and non-sponsors.
Digging through Super Bowl posts also revealed how quickly Facebook is catching up to YouTube in online video, according to Antelope founder and president Daniel Robinson. While Robinson said YouTube “still remains the king for seeding and spreading Super Bowl ads,” he said marketers should pay careful attention to Facebook’s growing role in online video.
Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” spot, for example – the most popular ad on both channels – got over 950,000 Facebook shares and ended up with 28 million views on Facebook, which was more than YouTube.
Here’s a look at how both Super Bowl sponsors and non-sponsors fared on social media this year.
Pepsi was front and centre as the presenter of the Super Bowl halftime show and it was likewise all over social. In Canada it started with a post on game day essentials – chips and Pepsi – and ended the night with a shot of a case of Pepsi and a Patriots jersey on a plot of grass. The latter pulled in 50 shares and almost 1,700 likes and served as a lesson in planning – the brand clearly had two photos ready to go before the winner was called. In the U.S., the brand posted a photo of a Super Bowl-type ring complete with a Pepsi logo to promote the half time show, pulling in 184 shares and almost 10,000 likes.
With its investment in the Super Bowl (including an ad created for the Canadian market ad), it’s no surprise Budweiser was also very present on social. One of its most popular posts (81 shares, 276 likes) put the game front and center, looking more like an ad for the broadcast than a beer. On Twitter, Bud Light played off its Bud Light living proposition, showing a guy in a raft floating on the hands of a crowd at a raging party. In the U.S., a post containing the brand’s U.S. Super Bowl ad brought it a massive online audience, pulling in 28 million views on Facebook alone.
The Super Bowl may be huge, but Roll Up The Rim To Win is bigger (at least according to Tim Hortons). The coffee brand used game day to point out that it’s giving a higher number of prizes than the number of Canadians watching the Super Bowl. The tweet received almost 400 retweets and 475 favourites.
— Tim Hortons (@TimHortons) February 1, 2015
In Canada, President’s Choice advertised during the Super Bowl on CTV. On Facebook, the brand prepped its social fans for the game by sharing a list of recipes for party snacks. The post received 48 likes and 41 shares.
Toyota’s main social strategy was to use the platform to give a sneak peak of it’s Super Bowl spot. Rather than play off something that happened in-the-moment during the broadcast or even something to do with one of the teams, the brand simply uploaded its TV spot. Lack of creativity aside, Super Bowl TV ads drew huge views all last week and straight through the game. The brand’s Canadian spot drew 34,000 views on Facebook, plus 179 likes and 14 shares. That’s actually better than the brand’s U.S. spot fared when posted to Facebook Sunday–it drew just 14,000 views.
Like Toyota, Doritos posted its Super Bowl ad Sunday night. But despite all the fanfare of the brand’s “Crash The Super Bowl” contest, the winner didn’t draw a lot of attention. A Facebook post showing the Doritos spot in Canada drew just 2 reshares and 23 likes. By comparison, a post about Doritos ketchup chips from Jan 28 pulled in 62 shares and 735 likes.
Telus scored big on Facebook by doctoring a photo of two helmet-wearing birds in Seahawks and Patriots colours. The post collected 900 likes and almost 250 shares, but it also became a hotbed for customer service complaints – the post is covered in comments about recent service outages, including blackouts that allegedly occurred during the game. The same creative fared better on Instagram, where it pulled in 120 likes and no negative comments.
Molson Canadian may be a hockey beer, but it wasn’t about to miss a crossover opportunity. The brand pointed out on Facebook that four NHL games followed the Super Bowl, making Feb. 1 the “Best. Sunday. Ever.” By doubling down on its sports fandom, it pulled in 2,474 likes and 322 shares.
Banking is all about the numbers, which is exactly the approach RBC took to Super Bowl social. The brand tweeted out a piece of creative (based on a Huffington Post article) that charted the number of pounds of chips, avocados and other snacks people consume on Super Bowl Sunday. Just one question, RBC: Why not kilograms?
Beer and auto brands are all over the Super Bowl on social, but it was a bit surprising to see the Yorkdale shopping mall get in on all the sport fandom. On Instagram, Yorkdale remained on-brand and lifestyle oriented, but still got into the Super Bowl spirit with a photo of a game day manicure.