Last night, crowds of football-loving fans gathered at the University of Phoenix Stadium to welcome the 49th Super Bowl, bringing with it an athletic elite and sprinkling of celebrity glamour, whilst setting timelines and news feeds alight with American football chatter.
Super Bowl XLIX saw the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks, with the Boston-based team reigning supreme. The much-anticipated final has grown into a world-renowned spectacle which has come to resonate in popular culture, and even more so today thanks to the global scale and instantaneous nature of social media.
Harnessing the power of real-time marketing has never been more relevant than during a live sporting event, and thanks to Oreo’s iconic tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, brands have been keen to emulate this spur-of-the-moment-style success. Unlike last year’s World Cup Suarez incident (and the reaction that came with it), this year’s Super Bowl featured no major mishaps, which meant no significant opportunities for brands to indulge in real-time marketing opportunities. This didn’t stop Super Bowl hashtags, such as #SuperBowl and #SB49, taking over social media however, sparking a frenzy of gossip, analysis and chatter.
More than 28.4 million Super Bowl-related tweets were posted throughout Sunday’s game – up 14 per cent from last year’s figure. Adding to that number was Katy Perry, star of this year’s flamboyant half-time show, who revealed a commemorative tattoo of the game’s Roman numerals to her 64.4 million Twitter followers and 14 million Instagram followers.
Meanwhile, Google partnered up with the NFL to deliver football game highlights to users within its search results, while YouTube showed in-game highlights via the newly-launched NFL channel. Additionally, so as not to miss out on any action, Facebook created a hub for the event, which curated posts from friends, groups, videos, and pictures, as well as a live stream of discussion from users talking about the event on Facebook.
However, it was this year’s long-awaited stream of Super Bowl adverts which stole the show on social media; 50 per cent of ads shown during the final carried hashtags, acting as a call to action for viewers to find out more about the product or service, whilst providing brands with a wider reach. The adverts, which cost up to $4million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, caused a flurry of trending activity. Budweiser undoubtedly scored a touchdown with its ‘Puppy Love’ advert, generating over 56 million views on YouTube alone, whilst Bud Light bought a live PR stunt to the television screen with ‘Real Life PacMan’.
As celebrations continue for the New England Patriots, 2015 marks yet another year of success on social media, with Google and Facebook launching new features for the event, and the inclusion of more extravagant ads in the race to emerge brand champions of the NFL Super Bowl.