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Drake and Jake, the millions of Mountain Dew, and the Marvel Universe – which ads won the Super Bowl and which fell flat


Live sporting events are one of the few remaining places advertisers can make sure no one can fast-forward through their commercials, which is why companies were willing to pay $ 5.5 million for just 30 seconds of airtime on Super Bowl Sunday.

So who “won” the Super Bowl advertising war?

For the past two years, I’ve used the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center at the University of Tennessee to understand how social media like Twitter and Facebook affect big events like presidential debates, breaking news like the GameStop craze, and sporting events. react the superbowl.

Engagement on Twitter is a metric that companies use to determine the success of an ad and determine whether it was worth all those millions – not to mention the cost of creating Super Bowl ads, which often feature celebrities.

Here’s what I noticed while monitoring social media during Super Bowl LV.

The artists

I didn’t oversee the game myself – in which Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. But I did notice that the cast, including the first poet to ever appear at a Super Bowl, got a lot of buzz.

The Weeknd’s halftime performance – and its close-up – was talked about on Twitter, as is usually the case with Super Bowl appearances. With its prime-time slot and greatest hits montage, it was the biggest hit on social media, with over 821,000 mentions during the game, most of which were pretty positive.

National recognition for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, poet Amanda Gorman received nearly 60,000 mentions, which were overwhelmingly positive after reading a poem during the pre-game show.

Amanda Gorman recites “Chorus of the Captains”.

Drake, Disney and Dew

Of the dozen companies that bought ad time during the big game, three won the Twitterverse with the most positive ads of the night.

I came to this conclusion by analyzing the number of tweets mentioning the company or using a hashtag introduced in the commercial, as well as examining the sentiment score to see if the conversation around the ads was positive or negative .

One of the big winners was State Farm’s ads starring Drake, in which the rapper replaces “Jake” who featured frequently in the insurer’s ads. Over 28,000 tweets mentioned State Farm within 40 minutes of the commercial’s first broadcast, for a total of 44,000 during the game. “Drake” was a catchphrase in most of them. The mood was very positive for most of the night as people found “Drake from State Farm” funny until some users brought up the “Drake Curse” which is supposedly bad luck for sports teams.

‘Drake from the State Farm.’

Disney’s trailer for its upcoming series “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” did even better, spurring over 100,000 tweets that explicitly mentioned the show. The mood was also overwhelmingly positive for the show, which starred two characters from the Marvel Universe with a score of over 90% throughout the evening.

Mountain Dew’s ad featuring pro-wrestler John Cena driving through a “surreal watermelon amusement park” won the evening on social media. It received over 300,000 mentions, likely driven by the $ 1 million offered to the first person to tweet the correct number of “main melon” bottles that appeared on the ad.

The multi-million dollar giveaway from Mountain Dew.

A couple of clothes

Super Bowl mainstay Budweiser had a pretty bad night. At first it said it would not buy any ads this year and instead donate the money to coronavirus awareness campaigns. But apparently it changed its mind and ran multiple ads for Bud Light and Bud Light Seltzer. The mentions of the two beers were under 10,000 and sentiment turned negative after the ads ran.

Shift4Shop, an e-commerce platform, advertised its partnership with the civilian mission Inspiration4 in space. The ad didn’t seem to have a huge impact on Twitter users, however, with fewer than 2,000 tweets during the game – not a huge impact for the price. It reminded me of Quibi’s Super Bowl ad last year that was supposed to be the world premiere of the TV streaming app. It wasn’t well received, and the company announced it in December.

Another big loser was ads that were “heavy” – ad jargon for overly emotional commercials relating to weighty events like the pandemic or the Capitol Riots. Most Super Bowl advertisers avoided these topics, opting for escapism and nostalgia instead. And those that got tough didn’t do well, like the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela ad where the narrator emphasized that “in these troubled times we need nature more than ever.”

Jeep’s ad starring Bruce Springsteen received a lot of attention – 20,000 tweets within minutes of airing after halftime – but most of it negative. For more than two minutes, the boss begs the Americans to “meet in the middle” in a call for unity, which some Twitter users described as “deaf”.

Too political?


While it didn’t destroy the internet, vegan food company Oatly’s love-it-or-hate-it ads caught quite a bit of attention, considering how minimalist it was.

It featured the company’s CEO playing the piano in a field and singing about Oatly products. People seemed equally divided about whether the ad was good or absolutely terrible – but it generated over 16,000 tweets. The negative reaction may have been the company’s plan when it immediately started selling t-shirts and said, “I totally hated that Oatly commercial.”

The shirts were sold out in five minutes.

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