Talking Points
September 2018

The Data Behind the Super Bowl Ads

Now that Super Bowl is behind us, we thought it would be fun to share some facts about the TV commercials we all watched. Here are the top 11 metrics that sum up the marketing on Super Bowl Sunday.

1. The top hashtag garnered nearly 28 million mentions.
The most tweeted hashtag didn’t belong to a corporate sponsor. That honor belonged to the big event itself. According to Twitter, the Super Bowl’s official hashtag, #SB51, was used 27.6 million times.

2. Netflix’s “Stranger Things” dominated online discussion.
So which commercial generated the most interest among the 51 ads broadcast during the game? It was an ad for the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” The spot prompted 307,000 tweets.

3. Consumers are gaga for Lady Gaga.
Not only did Lady Gaga kill it during the halftime show, but her mere presence carried a couple of sponsors to success. Tiffany Jewelers used Gaga interviews and National Geographic used a Gaga song to promote their brands.

4. Pepsi won the Twitter mentions war for the day.
By the time Super Bowl Sunday ended, Pepsi received more mentions than any other brand. One Pepsi tweet, featuring Lady Gaga, triggered over 4,500 retweets.
Pepsi Tweet


5. Five brands had over 60% of all social media mentions.

Social media tracking company Brandwatch tracked 630,000 mentions across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Almost two-thirds of them were for 84 Lumber, T-mobile, Audi, Mr.Clean, and Budweiser.

Brand Trends


6. Intrigue crashes 84 Lumber’s website.

After Fox allegedly refused to air the second half of 84 Lumber’s commercial for being “too controversial,” the company pointed viewers to watch it on their website. The site was inundated by visitors and crashed.

7. Brands were boycotted.
CNN Money reported Trump supporters used social media to call for the boycott of at least six sponsors. Those brands included Coca-Cola, Airbnb, Kia, Tiffany, and Budweiser.

8. Kellogg issues its annual report card.
The Kellogg School, which gives letter grades to Super Bowl ads, published its results. None of this year’s class received the dreaded “F.” Six ads did receive a “D,” while seven others took home an “A.”

  • This year’s A-team includes: Mr. Clean, Bai, Febreze, Google Home, Skittles, Ford, and Audi.
  • While the D-team features: Michelin, GoDaddy, Evony, 84 Lumber, and the American Petroleum Institute.

9. The Super Bowl’s low ratings were Fox’s best.
Super Bowl ratings are declining. The game received a Nielsen score of 48.8 this year, down from last year’s 49.0 and the prior year’s 49.7. In spite of that, Fox declared this Super Bowl their best-ever metered market rating.

10. Social numbers massive, but not best ever.
The number of social media mentions and interactions this year were eye opening. Still, no records were broken. Those records, according to TechCrunch, still belong to the 2015 Super Bowl.

11. Overtime was worth an extra $20 million.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game went into overtime. As a result, Adweek reported that the extra playing time generated $20 million of extra ad revenue for Fox.

Based on 11 Metrics on Super Bowl 51 Commercials by Sarah Steimer and Hal Conick.

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