Everyone loves football, but when it comes to the Super Bowl, that is where brands can shine and stand out with their various commercials and creative executions of their social media strategy. We have gotten to see the people behind these brands, and which agencies are working on certain brands for their big night on the screen (TV and social/mobile). This game was no different and there have already been a lot of reports of how certain brands and commercials have done as far as ratings and how well they were received.

Tapping into pop culture online and offline

Bai definitely did this for their commercial featuring Justine Timberlake and Christopher Walken. I thought this was relatively new and creative – made me laugh actually! But the real conversation emerged when people were criticizing the Bai’s social media manager for how they were sharing and tagging certain Twitter accounts online. This will be tied into a comment and overview I have later in this post.

You can still crash the party without a commercial
This is exactly what GNC did. FOX pulled their commercial because they were listed as a “prohibited company” because they sell two products that are actually banned by the NFL. You can still want their commercial here, but the company was actually very active on social media, even sparking some humor and snark into the mix.

Real-time marketing STILL being used

Ever since Oreo had their “Dunk in the Dark” tweet, brands have been working hard to tie in this strategy for various events, and this was no different. If a topic or brand is trending, others are going to jump on board and see if they can create some interaction. This was very apparent from several brands, but the one account that jumped on board with having something to say for every brand that had a Super Bowl commercial was Mr. Clean.

Was this effective? I think the one that Mr. Clean had for his response to Honda’s commercial was the best one, but the rest seemed in my opinion a bit over kill. We understand that they want to be part of the conversation, but you want to make sure the message, content, and execution are all part of the strategy here. You have to have all three, not just one or two of them.

The motto of this story is: real time marketing is very 2013 – we need to be a bit more creative, relevant and create experiences that truly resonate with our audiences. Pushing our brand into the conversation is not going to work in 2017. Brands have to know when or when they are not invited to the party. You can’t force this – and this is where establishing a clear, long-term strategy building relationships and dialogue over time is should be emphasized.

Shade thrown among brands

There were certainly some brands that were not BFFs during the Super Bowl. I felt that this was definitely the case for Verizon and Sprint, and even T-Mobile.

The conversation definitely picked up stream after Sprint’s Super Bowl commercial aired, and it seemed it was a full on social media battle with the various cell phone companies. I actually felt that this was one exchange that I saw that actually made my look at my phone instead of the game.

First LIVE video commercials

This was going to be the Super Bowl that embraced live video. The Snickers Live commercial was definitely one that generated a lot of buzz, which was good to see here. What I did like about this particular commercial was the fact they were able to stay on message, but they integrated live video with their traditional commercial. I know Snickers was working with Delmondo (a must follow agency) on this commercial, and I felt it was well executed. They stayed on their message, got the point across, and at the same time, made history for creating a live commercial for everyone to see via Twitter.

I also have to give props to Hyundai for their commercial. This integrated live video AND VR – which was really, really cool to see here. Plus, it had a strong emotional connection with the audience and featured some of our armed troops abroad. This was well executed and timed of course with the commercial and on social media. Well done, Hyundai.


While there were some winners for me here for their campaigns, there were other things that I felt really missed the mark this year for the social media component of the Super Bowl commercials.

There were a few things that I wanted to note that bothered me a little bit here about some of the commercials. Some of the commercials that were launched were some we have seen before in previous events – so they were somewhat recycled. I do not know about you, but if a student submitted work to me for my class that was recycled, it would not only get a zero, but it would have other consequences. It seems to be an expensive purchase to me to have a commercial being shown at this large event where we have all seen it before. Just my two cents here.

I also noticed that there were no mentions in any of the commercials for where people can follow these brands on social media. Last year, it was all about sharing hashtags and a Snapcode. We saw one brand (84 Lumber) share a website link (which crashed after their commercial was launched), but that was it. How can brands build on this momentum and reach without pointing audiences to where they need to go? Also, every piece of the puzzle needs to be accounted for when it comes to a successful campaign and strategy.

Let’s go back to the comments being made about Bai and their social media manager about not knowing to put a period before an @ account to make sure it shows up. Actually, you don’t have to do that anymore, but the comment is still important to note.

This is what intrigued me – over the years, one narrative that I have been hearing over and over again is how “professors are not preparing students for the workplace” and “the professionals are the ones who can teach students what they need to know.” That is certainly true to some degree, but what I found throughout the social media Super Bowl campaigns was there were some missing components in a lot of the brand’s social media strategies. There were literally no call-to-action statements or integrated approaches (except for a few brands with social media). No social media branding on the commercials to let people know where they could join the conversation.

These are basic strategy points you hear all of the time in social media strategy courses. I think for some of these brands, it may be a good idea to spend some time back in the classroom to get a refresher course on some of these essential key points.

What are your thoughts? Which commercials and brands stood out the most to you on social media?

Hope you all have a great day!

Best Wishes,