Win Some, Lose Some: The Ads of Super Bowl 52 [Social Data Analysis]

Win Some, Lose Some: The Ads of Super Bowl 52 [Social Data Analysis]

Regardless of who you might have been rooting for, the Patriots or the Eagles, the ads of Super Bowl Sunday always have their own winners and losers. There were ads that were heartfelt, quirky, irreverent, and yes, ads that even had a little bit of potty humor. We ran live data reports and took a look at some of these winning ad campaigns of Super Bowl 52.

This year, there were an estimated 103.4 million viewers for Super Bowl 52, a marked a decline from last year and the lowest since 2009. In fact, there has been a steady loss of viewership for the NFL at large.

And yet, despite declining viewership, ad spend on the Super Bowl doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. In fact,  in 2017 a single commercial for the Super Bowl cost an average of $5.2 million dollars.

So what does a $5 million ad at the Super Bowl get you? Well let’s take a look how the following ads and their accompanying  social campaign hashtag fared on Twitter.

#SpitFire vs #IceCold

Brands pairing up for the Super Bowl happened not once, but twice. Dorito’s and Mountain Dew teamed up for a combined Super Bowl commercial to promote their new product flavors, Spitfire and Icecold, respectively. We started the report right when the commercial aired. Here was one of our tweets:

It was a lot of fun to watch the live tweets from fans come in. People loved the fact that well known actors were lipsynching to beloved rap classics. And to have the products “duel” each got people engaged online in a friendly competition:

At the end of the night, there were over 23,000 tweets that contained either #Spitfire or #Icecold. It was also one of the faster moving hashtags. Here is what the timeline looked like with an initial peak coinciding right when the commercial aired:

Why we think this ad worked:

Two popular actors, Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, surprised and delighted in their roles here. It was unexpected to see these two accomplished actors, lip synch flawlessly to the rap classics, while the original rap artists made winking cameos behind them. There were also special effects like the blazing fire behind Peter Dinklage, and a fun competition on social media. The overall effect was a not too deep, and dare we say, even refreshingly light Super Bowl ad?


We were ready for the hashtag #BathroomReady for our live data report, but it looks like the admen that be decided to change the Febreeze social hashtag to #BleepDontStink at the moment of airtime. We think this was the right move as #BathroomReady is not as memorable or cheeky as #BleepDontStink.

In our live streaming data report, we collected about 1,300 posts. While there was some good reactions, this hashtag did not fare as well on Twitter as Dorito’s and Mountain Dew.

Why we think this ad worked:

This was a funny ad, with a good concept. So why didn’t it take off immediately on Twitter like the other ads and hashtags?  Our theory: it has a lot going for it, but there isn’t as much to talk about with these ads. That’s not to say this Febreeze ad won’t be effective for sales (last year’s Febreeze ad is said to have generated millions of dollars), but there isn’t enough material with it to keep people talking about it online. Still, in the end if the ad generates more sales for Febreeze then we can count it as a winner.


Unfortunately, #SaveLike Tiffany didn’t get much traction, though we really hoped it would. In fact in our Scraawl report where we tracked the hashtag #SaveLikeTiffany, at the end of the night it had only collected about 300 posts.

#SaveLikeTiffany Groupon

Considering how much it cost to get airtime, 300 posts isn’t very much.

Yes of course, there are other ways of tracking impact of a commercial, the most important being actual sales. But considering that Tiffany Haddish first went viral on the internet because of her story of using Groupon, you’d think Groupon would see–well, another viral hit.

Interestingly, you do see that a top hashtag in posts containing #SaveLikeTiffany was #guacworld. Groupon’s Super Bowl hashtag was leveraged by Mexico’s from Avocado, a brand in the past that has done really well with Twitter campaigns during the Super Bowl.

Why we think this ad didn’t work:

We’re sorry to say this, but this ad felt like a wasted opportunity. Why did Groupon choose to put this unpredictable  comedienne in a predictable ad? In the other Groupon spots with Tiffany Haddish, she shows off her personality and demonstrates in tangible ways, some of the savings to be had with Groupon. For example, in one ad she’s at a spa getting pampered. But in the Super Bowl ad, there’s no visual connection between her, Groupon, and what Groupon does which is save people money. It felt like there three separate ideas, circling each other in a 30 second ad.

It’s a Tide Ad

While we did not run a live Scraawl report on Tide, it was definitely the crown winner of Super Bowl 52. How do we know? The term “tide” showed up repeatedly in our other data analysis reports and in our collection of tweets for the other commercials mentioned above– despite not being a term in our original search.

Aside from the data, we also noticed how much people on Twitter responded to the ads. Not only were they self-aware and clever, they were also novel. In one Tide spot (image shown below), Saatchi, the marketing agency responsible for the “It’s a Tide ad” collaborated with P&G to bring in the Old Spice actor. In another commercial, they even borrowed Mr. Clean. Earlier we pointed out brands pairing up for the Super Bowl. Both the Tide ad and the #Spitfire versus #IceColds prove that tackling the Super Bowl as a team may be more effective.

And yes, Tide must have spent a good chunk of money to run these ads. There were a total of four “It’s A Tide Ad” spots, one for every football quarter. Which brings us to…

…Why we think this ad worked:

Another reason why these ads worked is because they surprised and challenged the viewer. Every time they watched a new commercial, viewers were wondering if it would be revealed to be a Tide ad, thus viewers always had Tide top of mind.

Perhaps we’ll see more variations of David Harbour’s omnipresent ad narrator in the future.

Scraawl Data Analytics

Curious about another Super Bowl hashtag? You can run your own Super Bowl report in Scraawl, just sign up here for a free account. There’s no credit card required and no commitment necessary.

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