How Media and Social Intelligence Provides Insight into Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Success
The Super Bowl is known almost as much for advertisements as it is for football. Commercials during the event represent the largest advertising opportunity of the year for big name American brands, with an estimated 110 million people seeing these commercials live. In fact, the Super Bowl is perhaps the one time of the year when consumers are actually excited to watch commercials. This excitement comes at a cost though. Reports suggest that 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl can cost brands upwards of $5 million.
Due to the high price tag of one commercial, brands are now amortizing this same content across a variety of channels. Advertisements are now pre-released online (with variations across social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook) in the days prior to the Super Bowl. If a commercial goes viral prior to game day, anticipation will spike when the actual commercial goes live.
As part of this multi-channel approach, brands want immediate insights into the success of their campaigns to ensure that their expensive investment pays off. Metrics supporting the ad campaigns such as reach and sentiment can be used to determine the impact of the ad campaign on sales.
Budweiser’s Buildup to the Super Bowl
Budweiser created one of the most discussed commercials during the 2017 Super Bowl, with over 330,000 mentions across all forms of media. The controversial advertisement documented the company founder’s journey from Germany to the U.S. to brew beer. To create more marketplace buzz, Budweiser followed the strategy of re-releasing the commercial in advance of the Super Bowl.
The pre-release strategy paid off for Budweiser. The advertisement went viral, with 1,200 news organizations reporting on the video on the day of the release. The video had generated 3 billion impressions even before the commercial was played during the Super Bowl.
Conversation During the Super Bowl
The conversation around Budweiser during the Super Bowl was three times higher than it had been in the previous week. Activity peaked at over 12,000 mentions per hour, with 1.3 billion impressions generated on Super Bowl Sunday. The massive number of impressions proves that no matter how good an advertising campaign, there is no substitute for the number of eyeballs that come with a spot during the Super Bowl.
Most likely, the timing and message of the commercial was intended to tap into the public debate over President Trump’s recent “territory ban” executive order. As such, the public reaction to the commercial focused on immigration, with many believing that Budweiser was taking a pro-immigration stance. These themes were reflected in the Zignal Labs wordcloud. Budweiser had wanted the commercial to focus on the pursuit of the American dream. The new narrative focused on immigration had the negative effect of a minority people using the #boycottbudweiser hashtag.
Overall, the commercial was a huge success. Sentiment across the United States was overwhelmingly positive,especially in the Midwest. The sentiment breakdown showed 92% of the sentiment expressed immediately after the commercial aired during the Super Bowl was positive.
Budweiser’s big investment in a Super Bowl commercial was validated by the increase in positive brand sentiment — from 86% to 92% — while gaining exposure to a potential 3 billion people. Brands need to leverage media intelligence as an additional measurement to track the success of their advertising campaigns. This year’s Super Bowl advertisements proved that a multichannel approach in a “digital-first” world is needed for any successful advertising campaign. Most importantly, to measure the ROI for these expensive multichannel advertisements, companies will need to adopt new media intelligence strategies that span the entire media spectrum. Traditional methods of measurement no longer work in a non-traditional advertising world.