Super Bowl Conversations: The Good, The Bad, and the Unexpected

Taykey examined real-time data from Super Bowl LI to analyze volume, sentiment, and audience demographics surrounding the most talked about Super Bowl ads. Even before the big game, three ads in particular generated significant buzz – Budweiser, Mr. Clean, and Snickers.
Budweiser Experienced the Pros and Cons of a Heavily Debated Ad
Budweiser’s spot about their founder’s immigration story, filmed nearly 6 months ago, caused quite a stir amidst the current political climate towards immigration. Regardless of intent, online controversy helped the ad become the most talked about Super Bowl spot. The controversy did impact the brand, with 55% of online conversations skewing negatively surrounding the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl and Politics: Is it possible to judge a fan by their team?
The impulse of many media outlets heading into the Super Bowl was to construct a political narrative about the Falcons being the anti-Trump team and the Patriots being the pro-Trump team. Interestingly, perceptions of actual fans (those talking about the respective teams and players) didn’t align with this narrative. In fact, Falcons fans were more likely to talk positively about Trump overall but surprisingly also had a more positive reception to the Budweiser ads. Proving even more how complex and nuanced audiences can be.
Mr. Clean: The Feel Good Ad of the Night
Another widely popular ad featuring Mr. Clean in a hilarious yet quirky cleaning commercial generated 77% positive online sentiment. Although high in volume, this ad couldn’t compete with the amount of mentions that Budweiser received; however, Mr. Clean was the most positively received Super Bowl ad of 2017.
Mr. Clean was the feel good ad of the Super Bowl, giving the audience a break from the game and politics. The ad was very well received by Millennial women in particular who seemed to get a kick out of sexy Mr. Clean. In fact, Millennial women talked more about the Super Bowl ads and performances than they did about the game itself, so the fact that this ad was their favorite was an impressive feat for the brand.
Snickers: The ‘Live’ Super Bowl Ad
Snickers generated huge pre-Super Bowl buzz when it announced it was going to air the first ever live Super Bowl ad.
After Snickers’ announcement they were rewarded with 60% positive online sentiment. After its Super Bowl spot, however, Snickers declined to only 40% positive online discussion. Perhaps this was due to dissatisfaction with the brand’s approach to the live commercial, which featured only a brief reference to real-time events within an otherwise canned execution.
Lady Gaga Exceeds Online Buzz Expectations
One way to reach a millennial Super Bowl audience would have been to align with online conversation surrounding the halftime show. Lady Gaga exceeded expectations to become the most talked about entity surrounding the entire Super Bowl, surpassing Tom Brady (the most talked about Athlete) and Budweiser (the most talked about brand). Interestingly, there was a nearly 50-50 split as both men and women were actively discussing Lady Gaga, unlike the audience talking about Tom Brady.
The Winning Team is More Engaged
We also found that whichever team was in the lead, their fans tended to be more engaged with commercials. When we compared a variety of brands who ran ads and sponsorships during the Super Bowl, Falcons fans were more engaged across the board.
Leveraging the Unexpected
By using real-time data, brands can be increasingly agile when it comes to their messaging. While Snickers did not dominate online discussion with their live commercial, they demonstrated the viability of the format. Based on the unexpected nature of online conversation, the live commercial format could be used to more directly speak to highly engaged fans or the most relevant trends of the game. Incorporating top trending topics into a live commercial has the potential to better engage audiences who are simultaneously watching TV and active on social media.
Aligning with specific topics could also be an effective way to reach more targeted audiences via social media. For example, we saw that Millennial men tend to promote game related content online and that millennial women were more likely to be discussing ads and the halftime show.