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SDL Super Bowl Ad Study Shows Budweiser, Cheerios and Coca-Cola Won the Brand Battle By Creating Sustained Brand Impact

Commercials promoting Budweiser, Cheerios and Coca-Cola from the recent Super Bowl broadcast generated the highest degree of lasting brand commitment that continued after the Super Bowl, according to a study and infographic released today by SDL (LSE: SDL).

The SDL study assembled relevant, targeted brand conversations before, during and after the Super Bowl and then analyzed the impact to brand awareness and sentiment in the weeks following the Super Bowl push. SDL has also created a best practices playbook to advise brands on how to create lasting impact on social channels. The playbook can be downloaded here.

While a popular Super Bowl commercial by insurance provider Esurance generated the highest level of social engagement on game day, the Budweiser, Cheerios and Coca-Cola ads sustained and increased their level of brand-related and advocacy conversations in the week following the game, the study found.

The Esurance commercial, offering a $1.5 million incentive for viewers to tweet the hashtag #esurancesaves30, elicited 309,992 social posts – nearly 10 times that of the nearest competitor. But three days after the Super Bowl, conversations mentioning the brand dropped off significantly.

Meanwhile, brand-related conversations about the Coca-Cola ad campaign – featuring clips of people singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages – actually increased as time went on, showing a sustained growth in excitement and brand commitment. Coke’s campaign generated more than 6,800 posts three days after the game – more than twice the amount generated by Esurance and down only 30 percent from game-day volumes. During that time, sentiment actually improved, with the split of positive posts increasing from 75 to 81 percent.

These brand insights are generated through SDL’s Customer Commitment DashboardTM (CCD) which provides companies with the ability to measure brand advocacy, purchase intent and engagement.

“Considering that brands are investing so much for Super Bowl spots, they want to ensure that they’re generating the right type of conversations and driving positive, lasting levels of brand engagement,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO at SDL. “Our analysis shows that to be successful, brands must combine a strong story with a tangible link to brand identity and an engaging incentive in order to transfer buzz into longer lasting brand uplift. Without those combined elements, buzz might spike, but it won’t be sustainable.”

The SDL study revealed additional insights concerning brands’ successful and unsuccessful advertising strategies for the 2014 Super Bowl. Best practices include the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for participation: Encourage, incentivize and even ask for social media sharing through the use of hashtags, social icons, contests, donations to a cause, and other social media calls to action. Campaigns that included social elements and specific calls to action had 4 percent higher Commitment Scores than those that didn’t. A cautionary note: Brands must be certain that their call to action is in harmony with the brand’s overall promise, because if not, sustained benefits will not accrue to the campaign.
  • Take a stance: Don’t be afraid to take a stance on seemingly controversial social justice topics (e.g. gay rights, civil rights, military appreciation, women’s rights, etc.). Taking a stance generates high buzz, media attention, and in many cases a swell of support from consumers and brand fans. Campaigns that took a stance had scores that were 6 percent higher than those that didn’t.
  • Continuity is key: Budweiser, Bud Light, Cheerios, Chrysler, Geico, and M&Ms built familiar campaign themes that have been seen either throughout previous Super Bowls or previous years of advertising. Having these consistent and familiar faces, themes, songs, etc. tied to the ad increased recall and brand commitment. Campaigns that built on themes from previous campaigns had scores that were 9 percent higher than stand-alone commercials.

Worst practices:

  • Putting the Stars Above the Brand: There was a lot of positive buzz about this year’s all-star commercial casts (RadioShack, Oikos, Jaguar, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Bud Light, Subway, Time Warner, Honda (Hug Fest)), but this buzz didn’t generate excitement about the brands or their products. Ads with all-star casts had scores that were significantly lower than those who only highlighted one celebrity or no celebrities.
  • Keeping Things Too Simple: Commenters criticized certain brands (Dunkin’ Donuts, Sprint, Kindle, Jeep, Mazda, Verizon, etc.) for disappointing at the big game. They argued that every year ads get bigger and better at the Super Bowl, and that these brands failed to compete by providing simple commercials similar to other campaigns they run all year long. Brands that were criticized for keeping things “too simple” during the big game had scores that were 19 percent lower than competitors.
  • Striking the Wrong Tone: Consumers complained that the tone of some commercials (Axe, Audi, GoDaddy, Mazda, SodaStream, Ford, Chrysler, etc.) contradicted long-held beliefs about the brands, or that certain celebrity endorsements that were perceived as off-brand. Brands must ensure that they conduct in-depth research to ensure that your ad or celebrity adds to the overall brand story or perceptions about your brand. Campaigns that were criticized for deviating from the brand had scores that were 4 percent lower than competitors.

To view the playbook and infographic, please visit: www.sdl.com/brand-advocacy

About SDL

SDL (LSE: SDL) allows companies to optimize their customers’ experience across the entire buyer journey. Through its web content management, analytics, social intelligence, campaign management and translation services, SDL helps organizations leverage data-driven insights to understand what their customers want, orchestrate relevant content and communications, and deliver engaging and contextual experiences across languages, cultures, channels and devices.

SDL has over 1,500 enterprise customers, over 400 partners and a global infrastructure of 70 offices in 38 countries. We also work with 72 of the top 100 brands. For more information, please visit www.sdl.com.

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