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Attensity Social Analysis of Super Bowl Advertising Campaigns (Part 1)

It’s that time of year again, and as with Super Bowls of years past, the cost to place advertisements remains staggeringly high. The base rate for a 30-second ad to air during the big game this coming weekend is a cool $3.8 million. So, to get the biggest bang for their buck, brands are continuing a trend that started two years ago by rolling out their TV and social media promotional campaigns in advance of the Super Bowl.

In the first of a series of blog posts we’re doing with social analysis of this year’s Super Bowl campaigns, we focus on the ads that have so far generated the most online chatter and controversy and, with the strength of our social analytics solution, come to the WHY behind all this talk.

The following represents a snapshot of high-level sentiment toward the Super Bowl commercials (largely teasers) from January 20-29.

We can see that social media commentary toward SodaStream, Axe and Skechers is entirely negative (see left-hand bar chart named “Sentiment Towards Superbowl Commercials”). However, this may change radically over time. In the case of SodaStream, we may well see that sentiment move in a more positive direction over the next few days, as CBS is allegedly allowing the home soda maker another opportunity to submit a commercial that does not bash other CBS customers such as Coke and Pepsi.

Regarding Skechers, the negative sentiment is almost exclusively around the use of racing dogs in the commercial. It will be interesting to see if this campaign continues to grow virally over the next few days.

Among the larger companies, Mercedes-Benz and Taco Bell are experiencing high levels of negativity. The dashboard below explores sentiment toward the German auto company’s commercial starring model Kate Upton. Most of the negative sentiment is derived from parenting groups who have blasted the ad, in addition to the many people who think the slow-motion ad is just plain boring.

The topic of “objectifying women” came up several days prior to the release of the Mercedes ad, with Girls For A Change (GFC) announcing an anti-sexism campaign to coincide with the Super Bowl. What is interesting about GFC’s campaign is the number of followers who had likely read this tweet:

If you compare the number of followers of GFC’s campaign (lower black bar labeled “Detailed Insights” in the chart below), versus those of the Kate Upton campaign (upper black bar), there are half as many. But, given that there were only 17 retweets, GFC’s number is quite impressive. In fact, one of those who retweeted was Gavin Newsom, the California State Lieutenant Governor and husband of documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel, an advocate for women, girls and their families. Ultimately though, the anti-sexism campaign did not remain viral for long, compared to the traffic around Kate Upton.

As for the other large company experiencing high levels of negative sentiment —Taco Bell— social media protests caused the fast food chain to withdraw its sarcastic anti-vegetable ad campaign on January 28. The Center for Science in the Public Interest responded to Taco Bell’s tag line (“High-calorie, high-fat tacos will not help you #LiveMás!”) with the tweet, “Shame on @Taco Bell for disparaging healthy vegetables in its Super Bowl ad.” The tweet reached about 80,000 followers (see peak on January 27 on the timeline below).

Our analysis has also found that Volkswagen is experiencing contrasting sentiment regarding their Viral Video Stars and Jamaican-Style ads. The latter is even being questioned as being potentially racist!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our blog series, as we uncover more surprising insights related to Super Bowl ad campaigns. This is almost more fun than watching the game! (Go Niners!)