Brand winners and losers of Super Bowl LIII
New England Patriots bested the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl LIII. The football was largely dull, the halftime show was a snooze — and things weren’t much better off the field.
Here are this year’s brand winners and losers.
Easily one of the biggest wins this Super Bowl was Bud Light’s “Jousting Match” ad, which cost an estimated $9.4 million, according to iSpot.tv. The ad was a partnership with HBO’s “Games of Thrones,” promoting the upcoming season. While the ad may have been a Bud ad, dragons always win. HBO also insisted that Bud Light kill off its Bud Knight for the spot which saw 183,801,718 social impressions, according to iSpot.tv.
Barstool Sports wins for best game time stunt. Founder Dave Portnoy, wearing a fake mustache and shades, was carried out of the game in handcuffs during the halftime show after getting banned last week after officials discovered him and an employee were carrying fake press passes. Barstool Sports went all out in using it, sharing the footage of Portnoy getting thrown out of the game with the hashtags #stoolpresidente and #FREEPORTNOY.
BAD BOY FOR LIFE @stoolpresidente #FREEPORTNOY pic.twitter.com/gFAxDZuAm4
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 4, 2019
Skittles took a new approach to the Super Bowl this year with an exclusive musical only shown to 1,500 people. Up to the minutes before the game, the brand was mentioned 3,800 times and the hashtag #SkittlesTheMusical was used 560 times, with 92 percent positive sentiment, according to BrandWatch data.
When the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th walls are broken beyond any possible meta reference you have to thank @DDB_Worldwide @Skittles @ari_weiss @wnd for ruining everything, especially advertising. Bravo! #SkittlesTheMusical #advertisingruinseverything pic.twitter.com/6SQTQk3Zyw
— Adam M Levine (@MadmanAdmanL) February 3, 2019
Not exactly Super Bowl related, but at least Super Bowl adjacent. While Epic has been creating plenty of great moments within Fortnite, with in-game events, including rocket launches and explosions, the brand gave Marshmello a live concert in Pleasant Park that caused quite a buzz on social. The brand disabled all modes in the game to “force” people to attend a 10-minute concert, and included holograms and inflatable balls. It was teased for days, and is a look at what halftime shows of the future could aspire to be. A reportedly 10 million players tuned in for the virtual concert, and conversation around the concert bled into Super Bowl Sunday. Fortnite also had one of its top players appearing in a Super Bowl ad. Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins was in NFL’s ad alongside Peyton Manning and Michael Strahan that aired right before halftime, and during the game promoted football player gear in Fortnite.
Brand Tom Brady
With the Patriots win, Tom Brady has cemented himself as one of the greatest football players ever. This win only continues a legacy of brand building that includes millions in endorsements, and the continued growth of TB12 — his lifestyle brand. Brady’s focus is mostly on football, followed closely by his family, but his burgeoning wellness empire is also a third. If there’s a winner after this year’s game, it’s definitely him.
Bud Light may have been bested by a dragon, but it also wanted you to know that its beer is not brewed with corn syrup — and that other beers cannot boast the same — a fact that swept Twitter. Other beers decided to clarify their own position (including a tweet from MillerCoors exec Pete Marino which pointed out that plenty of other AB-InBev beers do in fact contain corn syrup). But nobody was more upset than the National Corn Growers Association. “We think it is good for the beer industry as a whole to be transparent about what’s in your beer,” Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, told USA Today.
There were plenty of robots in Super Bowl ads this year, with everyone from Sprint to TurboTax and Michelob Ultra featuring them as characters in their spots. But, as The 3% Conference tweeted, “Robots DO NOT count as diversity.” A multitude of spots lacked diversity this year, and The 3% Conference called them out during the game on Twitter. Audi’s 60-second ad featured what 3% Percent Conference called a “token black woman” who only gave a few lines of dialogue. SimpliSafe’s ad had a lot of men and one nagging wife, Pringles left out women and both Sprint and Expensify used women as eye candy. Brands that did hit the right note when it came to diversity, included Bumble’s ad featuring Serena Williams and Olay.
Have there been more robots than women this year? #3percentSB #creativecircusreferees
— CreativeCircusReferees (@CircusReferees) February 4, 2019
Maroon 5 got people singing at the Pepsi Halftime show, but when frontman Adam Levine took off his shirt towards the end showing his nipples, people were quick to call out the hypocrisy compared to 2004’s Janet Jackson controversy with Justin Timberlake. While Timberlake was invited back to perform the Halftime show again, Jackson never was. Ahead of the game, people were celebrating what has become known as #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay for the second year in a row.
Sexism is Adam Levine taking off his shirt on national television and not having to worry whether he’s going to get blacklisted.
— Janan (@jananamirah) February 4, 2019
It was the first Super Bowl ever to not see a touchdown in the first three quarters. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Patriots took the lead and put some space between them and the Rams. On social, brands pointed out the mediocrity:
Anyone else getting hungry waiting for something exciting to happen? #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/ZyupjiLzjw
— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) February 4, 2019
Mint Mobile was one of four telecom carriers that aired ads during the Super Bowl, and managed to stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. Viewers were disgusted with Mint Mobile’s first-ever 30-second Super Bowl ad. The ad, which was created in-house, is called “Chunky Style Milk,” and showed just that. In the spot, a family gulps down chunky style milk after a Mint Mobile cartoon fox said it’s not right. According to Brandwatch data, Mint Mobile received 1,400 social mentions on Twitter since the beginning of the Super Bowl, and 65 percent of mentions held negative sentiment, with people saying they were disgusted at the thought and site of people drinking chunky milk.
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