Watching TV While Gulping Mountain Dew: A Fascinating Look at the Shows Dewheads Tweet About Most

'Problem Solverz,' 'Dude, What would Happen?' and 'Empire Records' Get Them Talking

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Last week in this space I shared some interesting data about advertising-as-media -- data generated exclusively for Ad Age by Bluefin Labs, which looked at the social-media response to two "Summer Time is Pepsi Time " spots. I was interested in the fact that people who are engaged with social media are prone to treating both TV shows and the commercials that air during them as, well, content -- content worth commenting about. (As I pointed out last week, while everyone in the business continues to obsess about time-shifting via DVR, Hulu, etc., most people still watch TV shows when the networks first air them.)

Cambridge, Mass.-based Bluefin's expertise is in providing brands, agencies and media companies with real-time TV-audience insights through social-media analysis. It's been building a massive database called the TV Genome, which it defines as "data created by mapping social-media commentary back to its stimulus on TV." The science behind Bluefin's research is pretty heady -- Deb Roy, Ph.D., the co-founder and CEO of the company, is director of the Cognitive Machines Group at the MIT Media Lab -- but it gets really interesting (and accessible) when you dive in looking for relationships and affinities.

The chart below represents an exclusive first look at a fresh-out-the-labs Bluefin data-mining project. It shows brand-to-show affinity: what the people who talk the most about a particular brand -- in this case, Mountain Dew -- in social media (primarily on Twitter and Facebook) have also been talking about when it comes to TV shows that have aired year-to-date. Some notes:

  • First, you may be wondering what exactly people tend to say about Mountain Dew in the social-media sphere. I was curious myself, so I culled several examples from Twitter this morning: @earthtoanneh: "Things i've bought this holiday: mountain dew, mountain dew, bag for ipad, mountain dew. #yay"; @wh0isjack: "Mountain Dew > Every other beverage"; @miaashamiss: "They don't have mountain dew?! Oh, my god. What am I supposed to drink?!"; @rstevens: "Captain Beefheart, Mountain Dew and Photoshop. Any sufficiently late work night is indistinguishable from college." (I can definitely relate to that last one.) It's pretty clear that people who think to tweet about Mountain Dew are generally fans and consumers of the product.
  • According to Bluefin, over 2,700 different shows (including made-for-TV and theatrically-released movies) have aired in prime time across all U.S. broadcast and cable networks year-to-date. Which means the top 15 shows below -- the shows Mountain Dew commenters commented about the most -- comprise a very select list. The rings of the circle represent the social-TV rating scale: If a spoke tip approaches the outermost ring -- if a blue-green line is long -- it means that the show has a high level of social-media engagement in general (not just among Dewheads); short spokes represent a low level of social-media engagement in general. The 1-through-15 numbers rank the shows most commented on by Dewheads, with the Cartoon Network's comedic cartoon "The Problem Solverz" in the No. 1 spot.
  • In the case of Mountain Dew, the top 15 affinity show all have middle-of -the-road social-TV ratings -- which means that although people who are prone to comment about Mountain Dew are also excited about commenting on these particular shows, the general population of TV viewers is not nearly so excited about doing so.
  • The tightest clustering for Mountain Dew commenters is around comedy shows. This isn't a huge surprise -- Mountain Dew is positioned as an irreverent brand with a goofy, quasi-comedic subtext (and of course Mountain Dew buys advertising time on irreverent networks and shows) -- but taken together with the other shows and the kinds of movies Dew commenters comment about when they air on TV (including indie-ish coming-of -age flick "Empire Records," the Mickey Rourke drama "The Wrestler" and the Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer"), you can get an almost instantaneous sense of the psychographic at play here.
  • "We see different dynamics across different brands, even when they're in the same sector," Bluefin's Tom Thai tells me. "For example, the Diet Coke brand has tight clustering around reality shows, while Sprite has tight clustering around movies."

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Bluefin Labs
The shows we tweet about when we're drinking Mountain Dew

Stay tuned to for more data from Bluefin Labs.

For more about Bluefin, visit its website.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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