It’s impossible to talk about Beer brands and digital strategy without talking about the industry’s biggest day of the year. The Super Bowl sets new advertising records every year, and Super Bowl XLVII was no exception. Each of the 52 30-second slots available for purchase this year cost an average of $3.75 million–$250,000 more than in 2012. Deep pockets weren’t all brands needed for a successful Sunday, however. To build pre-game buzz, 80 percent of advertisers (including all four beer brands) released teaser ads on YouTube. Another two-thirds released the full version. Long gone are the days when Super Bowl commercial breaks are filled with suspense over which celebrity cameos or cute gimmicks we’ll see. Now, the only suspense involves which ads will soar and which will be $4 million regrets.
Arguably the most high-profile beer campaign of this Super Bowl season belonged to Budweiser, whose baby Clydesdale-focused campaign also included synchronized efforts across its social media platforms. In the week leading up to Sunday’s game, Budweiser encouraged fans via Twitter and Facebook to engage with the brand — and suggest a name for the newborn foal featured in their pre-released “Brotherhood” ad — using the #Clydesdales hashtag. The beer brand’s campaign was an immediate hit. In the 24 hours following Baltimore’s win, the #Clydesdales hashtag generated nearly 10,000 Twitter mentions, and over the course of Super Bowl weekend, Budweiser’s Twitter followers (on its brand-new account) increased by 55 percent. By Monday morning, “Brotherhood” had amassed more than 6 million views and would become Super Bowl XLVII’s most-shared video ad. In a sea of car and tech-dominated ads, Budweiser’s tearjerker had the distinction of being the sole beer commercial to land in YouTube’s 10 Most Viewed:
Budweiser used digital prior to game day to build momentum and afterwards to prolong the popularity of its significant broadcast investment. While the brand was quite successful at the former, the latter has proven less effective. Of Anheuser-Busch’s six Super Bowl spots, just half contained any kind of digital call to action. Although the visibility of these ads were far greater than the activity of any other brands in the Index for that three-day window, the Super Bowl “echo” diminished quickly, resulting in tepid social media activity and growth moving into February. A dip is expected, no brand can maintain the apex of activity on Super Bowl Sunday, but to virtually flatline that quickly is less than ideal. Chances are, with this much money involved, we won’t see a graph like the one below again.