Last Sunday, Super Bowl LV drew just 96.1 million viewers across all platforms—this includes CBS, ESPN Deportes and streaming on CBS Sports, NFL and Verizon digital and mobile media—a 5.5-percent drop from 2020’s total audience and the lowest viewership the game has received in 14 years. Looking only at the TV audience, viewership was down by eight percent. But while the Super Bowl’s audience numbers may have been relatively lackluster, its advertisers still resonated with viewers.
This year, the Super Bowl broadcast featured 56 advertisers with 67 spots. Ad measurement and attribution company ispot.tv tracked the digital activity ads promoted on social media—Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—on game day and measured their TV ad impressions, earned online views and social impressions to formulate Digital Share of Voice (DSOV) rating for each spot. Mountain Dew’s “Major Melon Bottle Count” spot took the lead with a DSOV of 21.78 percent, although its built-in social activation—asking viewers to tweet a bottle count—boosted its social impressions. At No. 2 was Amazon Echo’s “Alexa's Body,” at 13.95 percent, and at No. 3, Jeep’s “The Middle” earned 10.64 percent.
Rounding out the DSOV top 10 are Cadillac’s “ScissorHandsFree” at 4.47 percent, State Farm’s “Drake From State Farm” at 3.31 percent, Dorito’s “Flat Matthew” at 2.2 percent, Uber Eats’ “Wayne's World & Cardi B's Shameless Manipulation” at 1.78 percent, Cheetos’ “It Wasn’t Me” at 1.56 percent, Tide’s “The Jason Alexander Hoodie” at 1.27 percent and Verizon’s “Can’t Blame The Lag” at 1.09 percent.
Reflecting the unprecedented events of the past year, several prominent brands chose to sit out the Super Bowl for 2021. Among them was Budweiser which, for the first time in 37 years, did not advertise during the big game. The brand announced last month that it was redirecting its Super Bowl media investment budget to support the COVID-19 vaccination efforts throughout the year. Other Anheuser-Busch brands, including Bud Light and Michelob ULTRA, did advertise during the game.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola also held back their usual Super Bowl advertising, with Coca-Cola noting, “This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.” Pepsi was a sponsor of the half-time show, however.
These pull-backs may reflect financial challenges some brands are facing. Atlanta, Georgia-based advertising/marketing lawyer Jim Dudukovich, with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, spent nearly 20 years as in-house ad counsel with Coca-Cola. He notes, “Behind the scenes, a lot of companies are struggling financially and are reducing their marketing spend, and that’s what we’re seeing with Super Bowl ads.”
Used with permission from PPAI Publications