As digital media steals ad dollars, brands may be increasingly haunted by the question of whether TV ads are still worth it, especially during expensive tent pole events like the Super Bowl. For Beverage brands, one of the most reliable Super Bowl advertisers, last year’s results paint a mixed picture.

Big brands may have the easiest time turning TV ads into social engagement. Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby” commercial earned 28 million views on YouTube, leading to spikes in engagement and search online. Those spikes can, in part, be attributed to copious spend: according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages, the brand paid for 17 million of those views.

TV spend

Some emerging brands also won out by tying their promotions to bigger brands. For example, Sparkling Ice’s co-promotion with the Trolls movie gave the brand a visibility boost across social platforms. In contrast, Shock Top’s ad underperformed, failing to enter the top ten. The brand essentially ended its web advertising after Q1 amid declining sales.

And in a lesson that spending more doesn’t always guarantee popularity, Bud Light spent heavily on its Party campaign, a politically themed series featuring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer that debuted during the Super Bowl. Yet the much-hyped campaign earned few digital interactions per dollar of TV spend compared to rivals Gatorade and Coca-Cola. As the campaign dragged on, Bud Light sales continued to decline.



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