Super Sunday Brand Bowl Winners and Losers

In our view, it’s clear that both Beyoncé and Twitter were the clear winners of the Super Bowl (beyond the Baltimore Ravens, of course). The Superdome power outage caused a frenzy online, and some smart brands capitalized on the opportunity to create witty and shareable tweets. Beyoncé’s halftime show also dominated Twitter chatter, with the return of Destiny's Child resulting in a staggering 257,000 TPM (tweets per minute.)

At our watch party, the only time our group of friends fell silent was during the commercial breaks. The Super Bowl may be the only time of year this happens, as every commercial is discussed and analyzed in full detail. Some were funny, some were crude, and some were heartwarming…while others were just downright offensive. Our view as marketers is the Super Bowl is always a great opportunity to learn – and to see which brands did the best job at capturing our attention (and which missed the mark).

Call to Action MVP: Oreo & Instagram

As inbound marketers, we understand that Calls to Actions (CTA) are an essential component of marketing. They trigger viewers to take the next step with your brand – whether its starting a Twitter conversation using a specific hashtag, including a unique URL to invite visitors to your website, or a phone/text number for free offers or updates.

Oreo capitalized on the opportunity to draw viewers to its Instagram page (and was the only advertisement to do so.) The “Whisper Fight” grabbed our attention and made us laugh, but also capitalized on the heated debate between cookie and cream. At the end of the commercial, they encouraged viewers to  “choose your side on Instagram @Oreo.” If you explore the brand’s Instagram presence, you will find Oreo created a unique brand community around “Cookie or Creme?” Impressively, the photos are user/follower-driven with artists turning “your cherished photos into weird Oreo-based sculptures.”

Oreo’s Twitter post in response to the blackout was free (unlike the pricey Super Bowl ad), and was retweeted more than 15,000 times. “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” Attaching images or video to tweets increases its shareability, and Oreo was able to do just that.

The goal of a call to action is to entice a potential lead to complete a specific action; ultimately making them dive deeper into your brand. In Oreo’s case, their 30 second ad spot wasn’t just “one and done.” After the Super Bowl XLVII ended, Oreo had significantly more followers on Instagram and Twitter  - and these are audiences they can nurture long after the Ravens' victory.

Advertisers Miss the Mark on Social

There’s a big difference between meaningful CTA’s and slapping your URL on at the end of the advertisement. The Super Bowl is one of the best (and most expensive) opportunities to build and engage email, mobile, and social audiences.

Jeffrey Rohrs from ExactTarget found some interesting facts about last night’s ad race:

  • From 6PM EST until the commercial break immediately after Super Bowl XLVII finished, 126 commercials were shown.
  • Of these, 33 commercials were promos for CBS programming--not one of which displayed so much as a URL, let alone an email, mobile or social CTA.
  • Doing the math, that leaves 83 non-CBS/NFL commercials that ran during Super Bowl XLVI… Here's the stunning breakdown on how those 83 commercials fared in terms of their CTAs:
    • 53% (44) included URLs
    • 33% (27) included a hashtag
    • 14% (12) included a Facebook CTA of some kind
    • 6% (6) included a Twitter icon
    • 6% (5) included a specific Facebook page URL
    • 5% (4) included a YouTube icon
    • 1% (1) included an Instagram CTA (@Oreo)


Shocking, right? Why did so many advertisers fail to involve these tools in their multi-million dollar campaigns? While some viewers may be talking about Samsung, Taco Bell, Budweiser and Tide today (based on their Super Bowl ads), the influence of Oreo’s social campaign will sustain much longer than these one-off ads.

Which Super Bowl ad was your favorite? What would you have done differently?

Published March 17, 2017.
Categories: Digital Marketing, Social Media