The Super Bowl won’t kick off until Sunday, but PR practitioners have already been at work for months as they prepare for the biggest brand bonanza of the year.
Social media mentions will be a key metric this year in measuring interest and excitement around the ads, and some have already earned a greater share of the conversation than others..
From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, NYX Cosmetics was the winner in the buzz bowl, with a big assist from Cardi B. According to data from Sprout Social measuring Super Bowl-related brand mentions across social platforms, a teaser that saw the rapper and singer recreating her “that’s suspicious” meme raked in 8,782 mentions and 156,127 engagements.
Cardi B recreates her viral “That’s suspicious” meme in new teaser for her upcoming Super Bowl commercial with NYX Cosmetics. pic.twitter.com/U9NpbohXDZ
— Pop Base (@PopBase) February 1, 2024
It’s fairly logical that playing on a meme that became an incredibly popular TikTok sound was successful on social media; it’s also a bold, confident move to call your product “weird,” “suspicious” and “freaky,” but one that pays off here. The smart pairing of celebrity to brand is also paying off here, with the hip, fashion-forward star paired with the budget friendly, youth-oriented makeup.
The next most-discussed Big Game ad on social media was also thanks to a big celebrity. Pringles released its ad featuring a mustachioed Chris Pratt and earned 4,049 mentions, 60,620 engagements. The ad, which sees Pratt compared to the Mr. Pringles mascot, apparently features real facial hair Pratt grew during the writer’s strike. After he posted about it on social media, Pringles spotted the resemblance to their mascot and a Super Bowl ad was born, Variety reported.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) February 5, 2024
The third most buzzed-about brand in connection with the Super Bowl was FanDuel. Not only will many people be using the sports book during the game, their Big Game plans were disrupted by the death of Carl Weathers, who is featured in their ad alongside Rob Gronkowski. Weathers died last week at age 76.
“FanDuel was fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with him during our Super Bowl campaign. We are adjusting our campaign accordingly out of respect for the family during their time of grief,” Fan Duel said in a statement.
It’s a tragic loss and a disruptive event for the brand — but it also provided a surprise boost in conversation about the ad. How they address Weathers’ death in the ad and honor is legacy will be crucial now.
Other top-mentioned brands, according to Sprout Social, include Michelob Ultra’s star-studded ad, Bud Light’s ongoing struggles to overcome its influencer controversy and a BetMGM ad that’s for everyone but Tom Brady.
The commonality? Social media tie-ins, big celebrities and major news all lead to more buzz. No surprises there.
The music angle
Outside of brands, the Super Bowl is also a critical moment for all manner of musicians. Halftime show star Usher has been featured in more than 24,000 media articles since Jan. 1, according to data provided by Muck Rack, a respectable number. But the real musical star of this Super Bowl is, of course, Taylor Swift.
Despite having no official role in the big game — she’s reportedly turned down requests to perform the halftime show herself — she’s been featured in more than 99,000 articles about the game, most circling around her relationship with tight end Travis Kelce, though some involve bizarre conspiracy theories.
There’s no conspiracy here: Swift is simply wildly popular and has a devoted fanbase. Indeed, the new audience that she brings to the table is changing the composition of Super Bowl ads and putting a new focus on female viewers.
Which brands will continue to drive forward on their pre-Super Bowl momentum to sales success? And which dark horses will pop up during the game?
We’ll just have to wait and see.