What can we learn from the ‘Social Super Bowl’?

  • 1
  • February 5, 2013
Mark Bowering

Mark Bowering

Content Strategist

    There is no bigger annual sporting event than the Super Bowl – and no better time for brands to get noticed.

    In case you missed this year’s NFL showpiece between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers because you were tucked up in bed late Sunday night and in the early hours of Monday, here’s a seven-sentence synopsis of what took place:

    • Alicia Keys performed a painfully-slow version of the American national anthem – sorry, Alicia.
    • Beyoncé and the other members of Destiny’s Child reunited for the half-time show.
    • Jacoby Jones scored a record 108-yard touchdown in 11 seconds that needs to be seen to be believed.
    • The floodlights went off in the second half due a partial power cut.
    • The floodlights came back on again.
    • The San Francisco 49ers threatened to pull off the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever.
    • The Baltimore Ravens survived a late scare to give the legendry Ray Lewis a fairy-tale finish to his career.

    That’s enough about what went on in the Superdome in New Orleans – it’s what happened online during the biggest annual sporting event that is just as interesting from a social media and content marketing point of view.


    First up, Twitter’s official figures show just how much of a frenzy Sunday night’s game caused.

    Twitter Super Bowl

    Delve a little deeper into the Twitter stat pack and there was as many as 231,500 tweets per minute (TPM) during the 34-minute delay in play due to the power shortage.

    Despite all the high drama on the pitch, it was Beyoncé’s barnstorming performance – yes, it really was that good – that generated the highest number of TPMs at 268,000.

    What was billed as the ‘social Super Bowl’ before the match definitely lived up to its billing as it produced the “most social activity in social TV history”, according to data compiled by social media intelligence platform Trendrr.

    The Famous Super Bowl Ads

    The cost of running a TV advertisement during the Super Bowl in America is simply staggering – meaning there’s always plenty of hype surrounding them.

    A 30-second slot is thought to be priced at somewhere in the region of $4million, compared to $600,000 in the mid-1980s.

    Budweiser stole the show during this year’s Super Bowl with its heart-warming ‘brotherhood’ ad. It’s a far cry from the company’s annoying ‘Wassup?’ campaign from over a decade ago and the video has already been viewed over nine million times.

    While the Bud ad is clearly the people’s favourite, I personally preferred the Mercedes-Benz video. Check it out….

    If the marketing departments at the likes of Budweiser and Mercedes-Benz want to know the ROI of their big-spending Super Bowl ads, The Wall have the answers in the form of Twitter ‘winners and losers’ infographic.

    Interestingly, Bud got over 9,000 new followers, Go Daddy’s Perfect Match ad showing a stereotypical geek kissing a supermodel backfired in terms of generating positive sentiment and in total, there were two tweets about the ads for every seven tweets about the game.


    While Beyoncé’s medley of hits attracted plenty of interest, the main talking point from the Super Bowl’s was undoubtedly the stoppage in play caused by electrical problems – an incident that sparked some pretty clever on-brand ‘newsjacking’ on Twitter.

    The pick of the bunch during the blackout came courtesy of cookie manufacturers Oreo, with this image getting over 16,000 RTs.

    Oreo Super Bowl

    Audi illustrated that you don’t even need to be as creative as Oreo were to make a positive impact socially, with a simple nine-word tweet getting them plenty of attention.

    Audi Super Bowl

    Drugstore chain Walgreens is also being lauded for their quick thinking and sense of humour.

    Walgreens Super Bowl

    On Facebook, meanwhile, Clark Griswold – the fictional character in the National Lampoon films – had a slapstick response of his own that clearly was well received.

    Clark Griswold Super Bowl

    Even SEOmoz got in on the action, although they did make a little grammatical error in their rush to hit ‘tweet’. Oops, indeed.

    SEOmoz Super Bowl

    Game Over

    Super Bowl XLVII has been and gone – so what lessons can be learned from it?

    • Newsjacking is a content marketing tactic that every business can use.
    • Every second counts when it comes to capitalising on a social buzz.
    • Events that will get a lot of people talking should be factored into social/content strategies.
    • American football is awesome. Okay, I might be in the minority there in the Branded3 office!