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Super Bowl Advertising Roundup

Andrew Cross

This year’s Super Bowl advertising lineup was filled with many familiar faces and a few newcomers, though the content itself was predictable.

Best Buy gave us Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne, and Sketchers gave us Kim Kardashian. CareerBuilder showed us the frustrations of working with chimpanzees, and Bridgestone showed us how a beaver – and a new set of tires – can save your life. Anheuser-Busch used poker-playing dogs in one of its spots, while E*Trade brought on its talking baby.

But how was the content received by the Super Bowl’s record-setting number of viewers?

As part of its annual Buzz Bowl, Walker Sands client Alterian has been monitoring the social media conversations about the Super Bowl advertisers since December. Through the game on Sunday, Alterian had tracked more than a quarter million conversations for volume and sentiment – a 61 percent increase from last year.  


Volkswagon had more mentions than any other advertiser throughout the period monitored as well as the best sentiment (97 percent of all conversations were either positive or neutral). Max Page, the child dressed as Darth Vader and the undisputed star of the hit commercial, became an Internet sensation overnight.

Pepsi and Doritos, both owned by PepsiCo., Inc., took the top two spots in Alterian’s Social Engagement Index, which measures the number of conversations and the reach of those conversations. Following on a tradition of previous years, both brands ran multiple commercials, all designed to get laughs.


CareerBuilder saw a huge spike in negative conversations after its commercial aired. The Christian Science Monitor ripped the job search company for using the chimps in its commercial, something the majority of top ad agencies have pledged not to do.

Groupon was hammered relentlessly in the hours following the game. Less than six percent of all conversations related to Groupon on Super Bowl Sunday – and there were a lot; Groupon was the most mentioned of the day – were positive. The backlash centered on Groupon’s perceived lack of sensitivity toward the situation in Tibet, eventually causing the company to pull its ad from the web. Groupon was the last advertiser to sign on for a Super Bowl spot. Now they might be wishing they hadn’t.


Alterian data also show the cost per social impression for each advertiser in the game. Walt Disney Pictures, Fox and Groupon all generated impressions at a cost of 9 cents apiece; Carmax, on the other hand, spent $3.10 per impression.