Super Bowl 2015: The battle of the brands on Twitter

by Ana, posted 3 years ago
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The biggest television event of the year for the US is over and of course hardly anyone is talking about the actual game. Simply because the ‘Big Game’ actually happened during the commercials.

This year, the stakes for brands were higher than ever with 30 seconds of commercials air time being sold at a record breaking $4.5 million.

We’re based in Amsterdam and honestly, even if we tried to watch the game we’d most likely fail to understand the rules of American football, we decided to better focus on what we understand best, Twitter.

During the Super Bowl, we monitored the Twitter mentions of top brands that aired commercials throughout the game, and calculated their social return on investment based on their number of mentions and the amount each of them spent on ad time.

Top 10 most mentioned brands on Twitter during Super Bowl


McDonalds was the big winner of the Super Bowl on Twitter with more than 319,000 mentions during the game accounting for a significant proportion of the total of 1.2 million tweets mentioning brands. Is it because McDonald’s was literally lovin’ every single commercial that aired? It is definitely likely!

Top 10 brands on Twitter based on Twitter mentions

McDonald’s chose an unusual Twitter strategy during the game, apart from advertising on TV. In fact, the brand was posting tweets about every commercial that aired with all kinds of positive comments. ‘That’s nice’ you might think. Actually, this wasn’t the only aspect of their Twitter strategy. McDonalds actually used these tweets as part of a major Twitter contest, giving away each product advertised in the commercials.

Nationwide was the second most mentioned brand on Twitter, however their commercial has stirred quite the reaction for its pessimism and controversy.

Despite this,  the brand with the highest social return on investment with 45,808 points, leaving McDonalds in second place with 35,000 points and a $9 million investment, double the amount Nationwide spent on airtime despite their generous Twitter campaign.

Top 10 brands with the highest social ROI

Last but not least, the automotive industry had the largest representation in the Super Bowl with BMW winning the Big Game on Twitter with 83,000 total mentions and a 9,231 social ROI score.
Car brands with the most Twitter mentions during the Super Bowl

Now over to you. What did you think of the Super Bowl commercials? Were you surprised by how the game winded up on Twitter? Let us know in the comments right below.


  • No, I’m not surprised the game was played out on Twitter as this has been going on for a few years now. People have turned to social media to comment, watch and share what they think about big events…and this is the biggest and most visible because of all of the advertising. Facebook tried a social media grab this year by setting up its social media hub, which garnered quite a bit of attention. Congrats to them.

    Many thoughts crossed my mind, but I made note of these 3 to write about. This is as good a place as any to draft my next blog post, right?! 😉

    1) Don’t make your customers or clients work. The Squarespace ad with Jeff Bridges was deemed brilliant by some, but others hated it because it was weird, off-beat, and made us go to a website to learn about what he was “Zenning” over. Sorry, not compelling enough for me to leave my small screen (mobile) to open another Chrome tab on mobile to search for it. They had no brand equity built up with me before, so I wasn’t compelled to follow their instructions. ***Lesson: Don’t make your customers work to get the message.

    2) Nationwide’s ad was extremely controversial. Even though a friend of mine scolded me for not looking at it as a PSA, my gut reaction, which is what advertising is all about during the Super Bowl, is that this was not the place to bring everyone down, and to scold parents who might not be practicing good parenting by making their house accident-proof, or by depressing those who have lost children, those I kept seeing comment after seeing it. ***Lesson: Don’t scold your customers on-air, and be very careful about producing the most depressing ad of the whole night…okay, the whole week. The Internet is not very happy with Nationwide, so impressions in their case aren’t necessarily positive. …and, no, not all publicity is good publicity. They just ding’d their brand. That’s not positive in my book.

    3) McDonalds: They did a GREAT job of positioning themselves last night…an amazing act of showing love, and of finding ways to help customers show their love for their family members. When done well, as this was, who wouldn’t love McDonalds for encouraging all of this positive emotion? Here’s the rub…one of their best ads failed to use a hashtag. I am pretty sure they used one in prior ads last evening, but they didn’t in the one I watched. I was happy with what I saw (which, as a marketer with advertising running through my veins, is a big feat as I’m pretty discerning), and I wanted to talk about it, including a hashtag to HELP THEM extend their message. But, nope, no hashtag. ***Lesson: Let people people promote your message for you if they want to. This is free advertising! For those of you already using hashtags, make them visible and leave them up long enough for viewers to see and learn them. Remember #1 up there? Don’t make people work! You’re spending a great deal of hard-earned money when you advertise, so give it every advantage to live in our minds, okay?

    Okay, enough outta me! Thanks for your post, and for the discussion! 🙂

  • Thomas Knuewer

    Guys, where’s Loctite? Can you tell me?

    • Hi Thomas,

      It was one of the brands that we did not to track. It is the first time we track the Super Bowl in this setting and for technical reasons we had to make a choice of brands to track ahead of the game.

      We chose most of the big brands for which there was enough data to calculate the social ROI.

      • Thomas Knuewer

        Thanks for the information!