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#Superbowl: How brands are using hashtags to win the Superbowl.

Aishwarya Krishnamurthy

Chances are that unless your team is in the finals (or you are an avid football fan), you’re rather ambivalent about what’s going to go down on the field this Sunday. Truthfully, like many of the 100m Superbowl spectators, you’re in it just for the commercials. On Monday morning, it’s more likely that the conversation around the water cooler will revolve around Budweiser or GoDaddy, than the fact that the Seahawks or the Broncos won, and for good reason! As in every year, brands advertising at the Superbowl are going all out to make sure that the most watched event on television makes returns on the (sizable) investments funnelled in.

This year they continue the trend of ensuring that their commercials are amplified across platforms – brands are promoting their game day spots across Facebook, Twitter and Youtube in order to reach the widest audience.
Multiple brands are using hashtags to tie together the conversations on various platforms. As Lux Narayanan, CEO of Unmetric pointed out, “Hashtags create a magnet around which a brand can condense conversation, and the presence of the hashtag establishes the linkage back to the brand or content.” Join us as Unmetric takes a look some of the hashtags that have gone live in the run up to Superbowl.

Axe was the first Superbowl advertiser out the gate with their #KissForPeace commercial. Released on the 16th of January, the 60 sec spot has steadily gained more than 3.5 million views, and has been shared almost 15,000 times. The hashtag has been used on Facebook as well, but it truly found its home on Twitter where Axe is now promoting a #KissForPeace selfie contest. Just a handful of hashtagged tweets amassed our highest engagement score of 1000.

Note: Unmetric’s engagement score is calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impression each post gets, which enables easy comparison regardless of fan numbers.
The hashtag has been used by the brand almost 900 times, and more than 850 times by followers in the past two weeks alone.


Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever is one of multiple campaigns this year to use more than one celebrity in their Superbowl spots. A new teaser promises an unforgettable commercial including 412 actors, 58 hidden cameras, five rock stars, and four celebrities (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Don Cheadle have their own teasers related to the ad). Again, Twitter saw the hashtag blow up, with users using #UpForWhatever almost 1,200 times since Jan 18th, when the first teaser released, resulting in the hashtag having an engagement score of 614.

Another Anheuser-Busch brand, Budweiser, has released one of their full length game day commercials – the Puppy Love spot which uses the #bestbuds hashtag and which has (on last count) already reached 12 million views and is likely to be one of the big winners at the end of the weekend.


A new teaser suggests that Budweiser also has something else remarkable up its sleeve in their other Superbowl spot, in which they are using the #salute hashtag.

GoDaddy, famous for its raunchy or horrifying ads in the past, has two spots in the game. One, which has already been released featuring a very beefed up Danica Patrick called the Body Builder and the hashtag #ItsGoTime, and a teaser for another with the hashtag #followyourdream, in which a woman, with a little help from John Turturro, is apparently going to quit her job while on live TV. Going live in front of 111 million people to quit your job deserves another hashtag entirely – #brave!

The automobile industry is reportedly the highest spender on Superbowl ad spots, and each of them is trying to get the most bang out of their buck. From Jaguar’s #goodtobebad, which received a high engagement score of 766 on Twitter, to Toyota’s #NoRoomForBoring, hashtags have been used across platforms, yielding great engagement on each forum. Other auto brands using hashtags this year include Hyundai’s #NiceHashtag with Johnny Galecki, Audi’s #stayuncompromised with the Doberhuahua and Chevrolet’s romantic #SilveradoStrong ad.

Volkswagen’s refers to its “Wings” commercial on Facebook and Twitter, using #Wings only once on Twitter, and not in the commercial itself. Similarly, although it is one of the more popular ads that has been released before the Superbowl, Kia’s “Truth” commercial hasn’t taken advantage of a hashtag as of yet. With the easy recallability of #Wings, and Kia’s #Truth, it’s surprising that these brands have not used their social media tools more effectively. CarMax used the #slowclap and #slowbark hashtags on Twitter and Facebook although the hashtag is absent in the commercial itself.

The other two auto brands Chrysler and Ford have not released much to comment on, although Bob Dylan and James Franco are set to make appearances.

In an interesting yoghurt face off, Dannon Oikos enlists the help of the Full House team of John Stamos, Dave Coulier and Bob Saget for their “Fuel your pleasure” #bromance, while Chobani chooses a bear, or rather a bear chooses Chobani in their #howmatters advert. Nestlé and Cheerios are using the Superbowl to launch broader campaigns, the former with the launch of Butterfinger’s #cuptherapy, and the latter with the #familybreakfast project.

H&M, in a move similar to Doritos’ Crash the Superbowl, is encouraging fan participation (and strengthening engagement) by allowing fans to decide whether David Bekham should be #covered or #uncovered in their Superbowl spot, by fans tweeting with their preferred hashtag. (Hold on a second while we quickly go support #uncovered). Rounding out this report is halftime sponsor Pepsi and their simple #halftime hashtag which is likely to receive insane engagement during and after the game.

In the Soda Wars, Coca Cola has released one of their two spots using the hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful in the heartwarming “Going All The Way” video. They are also using the hashtag across Facebook and Twitter where it is steadily gaining momentum. Rounding out this report is halftime sponsor Pepsi and their simple #halftime hashtag which is likely to receive insane engagement during and after the game.

The Superbowl is the ultimate platform for a brand to launch a product, a campaign or a hashtag, as a built in viewership of more than 110 million people is guaranteed. With Forbes reporting that there is going to be record viewership this year, brands can feel more than validated for the 4 million dollars that they are spending for each 30 second spot.

All data has been compiled and analyzed from the Unmetric platform which tracks dozens of metrics to enable brands to benchmark themselves against competitors and their industry sector for the time period of January 13th, 2014 to January 29th, 2014.