Why the Super Bowl is a Brand Bowl

Analyzing the discussion about ads during the Super Bowl

To many, advertisements are a hindrance. We scroll past them on social media, hit the “x” button when they pop up on our screens, and fast forward through them before watching a video. But there is one day of the year where advertisements are not a sideshow, but the star. That day is the Super Bowl.
Looking at social media data, we unearthed insights about the importance of ads during the Super Bowl and how ads are received by audiences.

Data Shows There is One Day Commercials Dominate Social Media

Looking at historical data dating back to 2012, the number of mentions of the words “ad” or “commercial” consistently increases dramatically once a year, on one day in early February, the day following the Super Bowl. While there are other noticeable spikes in post volume for “ad” or “commercial,” none are as pronounced as the spike in early February.

A Closer Look At Brands

Looking at the top-mentioned Twitter authors the day after the Super Bowl, it is a mix of brands, celebrities, movies, and organizations. However, brands dominate the most-mentioned Twitter authors overall, and it is a trend that has grown stronger since 2012.
In 2012, celebrities dominated the conversation: the top-mentioned Twitter authors the day after the Super Bowl are Neil Tyson, Howard Stern, Dwyane Wade, Rob Dyrdek, and Men’s Humor. Four out of the five top-mentioned Twitter authors are celebrities. The next year, brands joined the top five: Budweiser and Taco Bell. In 2014, Budweiser, Coca Cola, and RadioShack appeared in the top five. In 2015, four out of the five top-mentioned Twitter authors are brands: Nationwide, Budweiser, Always, and T-Mobile. The following year, three out of the five top-mentioned Twitter authors are brands: Doritos, T-Mobile, and Esurance. In 2017, all the top five most-mentioned Twitter authors are brands: T-Mobile, Audi, 84 Lumber, Budweiser, and Airbnb.
Year after year, brands become more discussed during the Super Bowl.

Brands in 2018

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl in 2018, many brands released their ads in advance. Amazon’s ad “Alexa Loses Her Voice” features a bevy of celebrities: Cardi B, Gordon Ramsey, Rebel Wilson, and Anthony Hopkins. Jeff Bezos also makes an appearance. So far, in the pre-Super Bowl buzz period, the major brands dominate ads discussion.

In the discussion involving brands that debuted Super Bowl ads prior to the game, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish topped the list of most-mentioned Twitter authors. Haddish starred in Groupon’s Super Bowl ad. The next most-mentioned Twitter authors are brands YouTube and Amazon.

As far as hashtags go, #AskAlexa, used to discuss Amazon’s ad, generated approximately 1.5k total tweets from Jan. 26- Feb. 1, 2018.

When we looked at the ads discussion the day before and day of the Super Bowl in 2018, it became clear who the winners are. Tide generated the most discussion, followed by Pepsi, Dodge, Netflix, then Amazon. Tide’s ads with David Harbour were well-received by audiences. Dodge’s use of Martin Luther King’s sermon to sell Ram trucks drew backlash. Netflix dropped a trailer for the highly anticipated “The Cloverfield Paradox.”


Our data demonstrates that there is perhaps no better day for brands and their ads than the Super Bowl. For more on consumer insights, download U.S. Consumer Trends.
US Consumer Trends Report

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