The 2011 Twitter Brand Bowl: And the winners are…

By Brian Solis

Super Bowl XLV is now in the history books. 2011 is the year that the Green Bay Packers reclaimed the NFL Championship. And, it is also the year that now holds the record for the most viewed television broadcast of any kind in U.S. history, attracting an audience of over 111 million viewers.

While many watched the game, it is the advertisements that spark conversations online and offline. Going back to Apple’s 1984 commercial directed by Ridley Scott that introduced the Macintosh, the Super Bowl is now as much about football as it is about the ads that support it.

At $3 million per 30 second commercial, many question the value and ROI of such an elite form of advertising. To others however, $3 million is an investment in word of mouth and legacy branding. It takes the idea of the desirable water cooler effect and amplifies it in real-time across more connected networks. Not only did 111 million people potentially view the ads during the big game, Web views, articles, blog posts, polls and studies will keep each ad alive for the months ahead. Crowd favorites on the other hand, will live on for years. Those commercials that design social hooks into the campaign can trigger conversations that extend ads across screens from TV to laptop to mobile as well as across social graphs. Progressive brands that track this activity will identify its core advocates and better understand how to convert social graphs into brand graphs as we demonstrated with Starbucks recently.

Following the Super Bowl, the big question at the center of almost every conversation is who really won the 2011 Brand Bowl. The answer is largely based on opinion and volume, but examining the activity under a social microscope is as telling as it is fascinating.

Working with the PeopleBrowsr Research.ly team, we tapped the Twitter firehose to analyze the worldwide conversations around each commercial. As you’ll see, in the Brand Bowl, armchair quarterbacks and sofa referees define the big game for advertisers; an expensive game where some win and many lose.

Report Highlights:

- Brand Bowl Tweets increased 271-percent between 2010 and 2011

- Doritos received the highest number of mentions in 2010 and the third highest in 2011.

- The auto industry also represented the most social activity of all commercials in 2011 led by Chrysler, VW, and Chevrolet.

- Ads placed in the second quarter captured the most online viewing attention than other spots.

- VW’s “The Force” commercial earned the most positive sentiment.

- Groupon ads received the most negative response.
2011 Brand Bowl Highlight Reel

Between 2010 and 2011, Tweets about the advertisers in the big game spiked by 271-percent. Of course Twitter also experienced tremendous growth between the games, now accounting for ~200 million users who publish 110 million Tweets per day.

This year, the top commercial dominated the field earning 64-percent more Tweets than its closest competitor. The honor for the most mentioned brand in this year’s Brand Bowl goes to Doritos with 77.8k mentions. The Transformers 3 trailer followed with an impressive 49.6k Tweets, and drafting close behind was Chrysler with 49k Tweets.

The 2011 Top 11 Commercials by Volume:

1. Doritos – 77,799 mentions
2. Transformers 3 – 49,559
3. Chrysler – 49,079
4. Coca-Cola/Coke – 33,082
5. Volkswagen/VW – 30,050
6. Groupon – 30,011
7. Chevrolet/Chevy – 25,743
8. Captain America – 25,315
9. Sketchers – 23,859
10. Thor – 23,096
11. Pepsi Max – 18,849

If we were to measure the top ads by velocity, the Transformers 3 preview would lead the game spiking at 40,000 mentions. Chrysler’s inspirational “Imported from Detroit” spot featuring rapper Eminem ranked a close second hitting a crescendo at just under 39,000 mentions. Doritos crunched in the third spot at over 34,000 Tweets. The distance between third and fourth place is as great as the span between the second and third quarter in the big game. Sketchers ShapeUps commercial featured Kim Kardashian, which helped it peak at just over 21,000 Tweets.

The 2011 Top 10 Commercials by Velocity:

1. Transformers 3
2. Chrysler
3. Doritos
4. Sketchers
5. Thor
6. Captain America
7. Volkswagen/VW
8. Coca-Cola/Coke
9. Groupon
10. Chevrolet/Chevy
11. Pepsi Max
2010 Brand Bowl Highlights

Compared to the top 2010 ads by volume, you’ll notice that Doritos remains in the top 3 between the two years, winning the Bowl in 2010, at least where mentions are concerned. Of all the ads between 2010 and 2011 only Doritos and Coca-Cola/Coke make the top 10 lists consecutively.

The Top 10 Brands by Volume:
1. Doritos – 41,748
2. Bud Light – 15,555
3. Google AD – 12,120
4. CocaCola – 9,299
5. Budweiser – 8,067
6. Snickers – 6,945
7. GoDaddy – 5,993
8. Kia – 3,873
9. Hyundai – 2,793
10. Focus on the Family – 2,024

The 2010 Top 10 ads by Velocity:
1. Doritos
2. Bud Light
3. Budweiser
4. Google
5. Snickers
6. GoDaddy
7. Kia
8. Hyundai
9. Coca-Cola
10. Focus (on the family)

Brand Bowl 2011 vs. 2010

As mentioned earlier, the volume between the years is remarkable. The active audience is this year’s Brand Bowl was indeed engaged, representing a surge in Tweets to 387,162 total ad mentions in 2011 and 99,124 in 2010.

To put things in perspective however, if we assumed that each of the 111 million estimated viewers Tweeted once, it would represent a .035 participation level. As such, we analyzed the top 11 brands and of those mentioned, 90-percent of the Tweets were published by 44-percent of the engaged community.

The top four players in 2011 outplayed the top performers in 2010. Doritos’ 2011 appearance ranked third in overall volume of Tweets between the two years with its 2010 showing also ranking fifth. Doritos is the only 2010 representative appearing in the Top 10 comparison between the two years, with Bud Light finishing 11th.

2011 vs. 2010 Player Stats

Comparing the 2010 to 2011 year to date changes, most players experienced positive growth. Ranking based on YTD % changes, Coca-Cola is the clear winner, with conversations increasing by over 263.5-percent. Doritos led the pack in overall conversations with just under 80,000 mentions in 2011 and just over half that in 2010, growing by 88.3-percent. Kia Tweets jumped by 200-percent, reaching over 10,000 Tweets in 2011. Snickers followed in fourth growing by 79-percent. Bud Light saw a 24-percent drop in Tweets falling from 15,000 Tweets to just over 12,000.

2011 Player Sentiment

Sentiment is an elusive metric. To quantify attitudes accurately, it takes a human touch. To do so, we employed a human turked sentiment sample of 2,000 random Tweets for the Top 11 brands.

Of the top brands in 2011, Volkswagen/VW’s “The Force” campaign earned the most love reaching almost 90-percent positive reactions. Transformers 3 earned a second place standing with 77-percent positive sentiment. Movies will account for three of the top five with Captain America closely following Transformers with 74-percent positive Tweets. And, right behind Captain America is another hero, Thor hammers fourth 72-percent positive reactions. Not surprisingly, Chrysler drives into fifth place with 71-percent.

Not all Tweets are positive however. Several commercials this year earned greater negative reactions than some of the top brands earned in terms of positive sentiment. The leader here, which may come as no surprise, is Groupon with a 75-percent negative response. The ads were controversial in nature, but according to the Tweets and all intentions aside, they were also in poor taste. These ads have since been pulled from television circulation. At 47-percent, it seems that the Sketchers spots featuring Kim Kardashian stuck a sour note with viewers. Coca-Cola and Pepsi Max, while mostly positive or neutral, also realized a notable negative response.

Overall however, viewers responded positively to the 2011 Brand Bowl. An interesting observation however, 2011 negative sentiment is almost equal to the positive sentiment shared in 2010.

That about wraps our post-game analysis. We’ll see you in 2012 for the next Brand Bowl, where you define the winners and the losers just by Tweeting your honest reactions.

The PeopleBrowsr presentation is available on Slideshare

Watch the Super Bowl XLV commercials here

Image Rights: NFL

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