The Advertising Touchdowns, As Called by Social Media

Super Bowl XLVII just became the highest-rated television program of all time. More than 100 million viewers watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans though  a recent Nielsen poll suggests more than half of those viewers were more interested in the ads than the action. This singular combination of audience and interest, of course, is why advertisers were willing to pay as much as $4 million for a single 30-second spot during the broadcast, and why that may end up being a bargain.

However, exposure invites criticism, while expectation can lead to disappointment, and the media generally viewed this year’s crop of ads as underwhelming. New York Times ad critic Stuart Elliott described them as “disappointing.” They represented a missed opportunity for marketers and agencies to demonstrate that they had at least some understanding of how contemporary consumers think and behave,” he wrote after the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Times called the night’s ads “pretty lame,” and “decidedly low-wattage.”

The sentiments of jaded critics are less important than those of the customers advertisers are actually trying to reach however.  And with the advent of social media, accurately assessing the public’s response to such widely viewed ads is becoming a more realistic possibility.

ORC’s Social Buzz database indexes all social media, including microblogs, such as Twitter, as well as proper blogs and other online forums, enabling users to analyze millions of tweets and other fragments of online chatter on virtually any subject. The word cloud below shows the words that most commonly appeared in posts that mention the ‘Super Bowl’ and the word ‘commercial.’

Word Cloud & Sentiment Analysis- Super Bowl & Commercials

The word cloud shows some of the most talked-about ads this year were produced by Budweiser, Dodge, and Samsung. The pie chart to the right shows that most of the posts express positive sentiments (in green), rather than negative (red) or mixed (orange).

We analyzed the social media chatter surrounding four advertisers whose ads sparked conversation, including the three mentioned above, along with Doritos. The graph below shows how discussion of each advertiser increased or declined over the course of the day. Discussion of Dodge, for instance, was virtually non-existent at the start of the day, while it ended the day as the most discussed brand of the five. Samsung, on the other hand, began the day as the most discussed brand of the five and ended as the least discussed. This suggests that Dodge’s ad, featuring a 1978 recording of broadcaster Paul Harvey reading his “So God Made a Farmer” essay, at least succeeded in stimulating discussion of the spot. While Samsung’s ad, in which actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen ad-lib with Bob Odenkirk, culminating with a cameo appearance by LeBron James, failed to alter the level of discussion of the brand.

Mentions of Brands Throughout the Evening of the Super Bowl

We can also use Social Buzz to analyze the sentiments of these brand discussions. Doritos, for instance, ran two spots during the Super Bowl, the first featuring a Dorito-munching goat and the second depicting a cross-dressing father and his friends playing with his daughter. The world cloud below shows that the goat spot made a bigger impression than its counterpart.

Word Cloud & Sentiment Analysis- Doritos & Super Bowl

The real impact and value of advertising during the Super Bowl are difficult to assess, and it remains to be seen whether the perception of a spot is more important than simple exposure to that spot. But analysis of social media demonstrates that it has a clear impact on brand awareness and there is little evidence supporting media notions that viewers found Sunday night’s ads “pretty lame.”

Check out the February issue of “The Pulse” – the Advertising and Marketing Services newsletter from ORC International.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Advertising & Professional Services, Social Listening, Sports

Author:Stephen Rauscher

Stephen Rauscher is a market research analyst with ORC International

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