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For the third consecutive year, we rank the brands that scored big online with their more than $5 million Super Bowl LII ad spends. In previous years, we saw a variety of tactics employed to gain consumer conversation – Snickers ran a live ad, Persil and Mercedes tried hiring celebrity directors for their 30-second spots and others aimed for political and emotional resonance. Last year’s winners included T-Mobile, Budweiser, 84 Lumber, Audi and Coca-Cola.
Our social listening tools looked at each brand individually for mentions. For example, we did not lump Mountain Dew, Doritos and Pepsi’s commercials into an overall “Pepsi” brand bucket. We included all mentions the week prior to the game and the day after, Jan. 28 – Feb. 5 to determine which brands generated the most chatter.
Here are the 2018 winners:
Let’s start with avocados. After some more digging, we found Avocados From Mexico incorporated its ad into what resembles a fully integrated campaign. It had a partnership with Funny or Die that included game-day social media content, had terrific live community management that commented on all the commercials throughout the game, included a hashtag (#GuacWorld) that unified the messages and wrapped it all in an interactive microsite that let users explore GuacWorld. And finally -- the kicker -- it enlisted a “tweet to win” sweepstakes for consumers to win avocados for a year. The sweepstakes led to its online chatter winnings – the tweet reach is only 50 million (compared to 166.5 million reach for the Pepsi ad chatter), which indicates Avocados From Mexico had a lot conversation from the general consumer or purchaser.
On the flip side, conversation surrounding Dodge Ram’s ad had the highest reach of all the brands with 418 million users reached. Its ad used a Martin Luther King Jr. sermon and was criticized widely – 60 percent of the Twitter conversation was neutral or negative, indicating brands don’t have to delight folks to win in online brand mentions.
Tide ran several ads spoofing the Super Bowl ad genre and toyed with tropes from other brand ads (Budweiser Clydesdales, the Old Spice guy). Its hero was David Harbour from Stranger Things – one of the most talked about shows of 2017 – guaranteeing mentions from an already loyal following.
Amazon Alexa and the NFL aired two of the funniest ads of the evening. Alexa also gained notable chatter for using four celebrities. Celebrity endorsements is a stalwart tactic; in all the year’s we’ve performed this exercise, using a celebrity in an ad is a good indication of how the brand will fare in online conversation. Case in point, the Pepsi throwback ad with Cindy Crawford had only 7,700 online mentions but a reach of 166.5 million thanks to online plugs from Britney Spears, Michael Jackson’s official Twitter feed and a mix of business and entertainment news.
Finally, a shout-out goes to Bud Light for figuring out a way to make its Super Bowl ad conversation last for days after the game. Philly Philly, Dilly Dilly.
Lucy Arnold is a digital manager at Allison+Partners.