Every second Sunday in February, the only subject that generates more buzz than football's big game is the advertisements that air during it. During those four hours, television audiences are arguably the most receptive to ads than at any other time of year.
The big game arrived with a few changes to its advertising landscape. It was the first since 1989 to feature ads from multiple alcohol brands since Anheuser-Busch relinquished exclusivity in June 2022. Apple Music became the sponsor of the always highly-anticipated halftime show, replacing Pepsi, which had held that role since 2013. And lastly, the cost of a 30-second spot shot up to about $7 million, up from $6.5 million in 2022, according to Statista.
The Kansas City Chiefs won the game, and halftime show performer Rihanna won viewers’ attention, generating more mentions than both teams playing combined. Meanwhile, a separate showdown took place between the many advertisers of the NFL's biggest game. Did your favorite ad generate the most conversation? We used Meltwater Explore to analyze keyword, hashtag, and social media handle mentions of the top brands of the night to find out which brand "won" the big game.
Most Talked-About Ad: Tubi
From Sunday, the day of the big game, through Monday, February 13, Tubi’s commercial generated the most conversation online. The streaming app pranked the game’s millions of followers with an ad called “Interface Interruption” that seemingly changed their channels to a movie on the Tubi app. It sparked excited, amused, and, at times, heated discussion across the internet and garnered more than 102,000 mentions across social media, message boards, blogs, podcasts, news, and broadcast media. That amounted to nearly 30,000 more than the next most talked-about brand, Budweiser.
Tubi wasn’t the most well-known brand advertising during the game, but its clever commercial concept beat out heavyweights like Pepsi and Doritos to get the most people talking.
Biggest Social Exposure Increase: He Gets Us
While the volume of keyword, hashtag, and social media handle mentions is a great indicator of buzz, so is social media exposure. We used Meltwater Insight Reports to analyze the changes in social media exposure for the brands whose ads generated the most online conversation. By this metric, the Christian ad campaign 'He Gets Us' was the game's brand winner, with an 87% increase in social media exposure. Compare that to Tubi, which saw an impressive but smaller increase of 34%.
However, high social exposure does not necessarily mean admiration or positive attention. The brand's net tonality, which measures the sentiment of mentions, decreased by six points as many internet users and news outlets highlighted the organizations behind the commercials and their links to anti-LGBT and anti-abortion legislative pushes.
Biggest Tonality Change: Dunkin'
When it comes to sentiment, coffee chain Dunkin’ had the greatest change in tonality. Its commercial, starring actor and brand enthusiast Ben Affleck taking orders in a Massachusetts Dunkin' drive-thru, scored the brand a five-point increase in positive sentiment. On the day of the big game, Dunkin’ garnered about 4,000 positive article mentions.
From pranks to celebrity cameos, this year’s ads on football's biggest night were as creative and buzzworthy as ever. Our Meltwater Explore analysis and Insight Reports revealed which ones had the most impact that weekend. As for which commercials will live on in public memory, only time will tell.