Which brands won (and lost) the Super Bowl on Twitter
With 23 first-time advertisers, the pandemic's impact on commercial production and 30,000 fan cutouts filling the stadium, Super Bowl LV was a new experience. One thing that remained the same, however, was that Twitter was the platform of choice for viewers to share their opinions.
While brands mostly saw positive sentiment, some saw backlash and others divided audiences.
Analytics firm Brandwatch analyzed social mentions and sentiment on Twitter for all Super Bowl-ad tweets during the game. Collectively, brands saw more than 916,000 mentions (or 3,800 mentions a minute) on Twitter.
Of the nearly 50 brands that Brandwatch analyzed, two topped the charts in terms of social interactions—and they were both PepsiCo brands.
PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew’s 30-second spot starring John Cena promoting its new Major Melon flavor paid off, at least on social media. The second-quarter spot from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York generated more than 318,000 mentions (or 1,300 mentions per minute) on Twitter. Those numbers mean that Mtn Dew was responsible for 35% of all brand mentions during the game.
It’s not exactly surprising—the spot itself challenges viewers to count the number of Mtn Dew bottles that appear in the ad and tweet the correct number at the brand to win $1 million. What is surprising is the amount of people who took their attention away from football to partake in the game. The brand has not yet announced the winner. Mtn Dew also saw the highest positive sentiment for its spot—an impressive 95.49% of all mentions were positive.
Pepsi, which sponsored the halftime show, came next with 243,000 mentions—with nearly 7,000 mentions a minute during the show itself). Overall, Pepsi was responsible for 27% of all brand mentions and Twitter also named Pepsi its brand MVP for the night. This year’s halftime show accompanied a sponsored #PepsiHalftimeshow hashtag on Twitter and featured a live, meme-worthy performance from The Weeknd. The Weeknd’s close camera angles started a running social meme that drew some other brands into the conversation. The Weeknd saw more than 534,000 mentions, accounting for the majority (65%) of all celebrity mentions during the live game, according to Brandwatch.
After those two chart-toppers, brand mentions dip significantly. State Farm, with more than 42,000 mentions—contributing 5% of all brand mentions during the game—came in third. The insurer aired its first-ever Super Bowl commercial during the first half of the game from The Marketing Arm. The 30-second star-studded spot featured its spokesman, Jake, football stars Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rogers and surprise celebrity appearances from Paul Rudd and Drake. The brand certainly benefited from its choice of celebrities. Drake saw more than 67,000 mentions during the game, landing behind The Weeknd in celebrity mentions.
Oatly’s Super Bowl ad that ran in the game’s second quarter was mostly described as strange and simply bad. Negative mentions outweighed the positive; 56% of the more than 15,700 mentions on Twitter were negative. Oatly’s first Super Bowl ad was originally banned when it first ran in Sweden in 2014. In it, Oatly CEO Tony Petersson sings a song he wrote called “Wow No Cow” as he sits in an oat field playing an electric piano.
TurboTax did not come off well to most people reacting on Twitter; approximately 87% of 5,000 mentions were negative. On social, people alleged that TurboTax, which aired a spot showing TurboTax experts reaching people no matter where they are, lobbies federal departments so that filing taxes remains complicated.
Coming fresh off of its GameStop debacle, the majority of Twitter mentions around Robinhood’s first Super Bowl spot were negative (some 66% of Robinhood’s more than 9,600 mentions were negative). Robinhood’s 30-second spot sidesteps the Game Stop debate and instead focuses on celebrating how individual investing has become more accessible. Meanwhile, Reddit aired a regional five-second Super Bowl spot from R/GA that deliberately spoke to the GameStop and Robinhood debate and dominated social conversations, with many calling it the best ad of the night.
Ad Age gave Jeep five stars for its Super Bowl spot featuring Bruce Springsteen, which calls for the “ReUnited States of America.” But on Twitter, reactions to the ad were as divided as the nation. It took Jeep Chief Marketing Officer Oliver Francois 10 years to finally get Springsteen in an ad for the brand, but depending on who you talk to, the strategy paid off or fell flat. Jeep saw more than 27,000 mentions during the game, with a 55% negative sentiment. Bruce Springsteen saw more than 1,600 mentions on Twitter. Some people felt the ad was too preachy and felt the Christian imagery was alienating. We took our own poll:
Squarespace's Super Bowl spot also divided the audience. The spot celebrated the side hustle with Dolly Parton remaking her original “9 to 5” hit into “5 to 9,” making it an anthem to the after-hours work about which people are actually passionate. With roughly 1,200 mentions, the conversation was 61% positive. While some people liked the ad’s message of people working on their passions, others called the ad tone-deaf in a time with record unemployment.