News Highlights: Super Bowl Edition

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The American Super Bowl is just around the corner and I thought I’d focus this week’s News Highlights on this mega advertising event (well, yes, sports too …). Sinead conducted a short case study on 2015’s more successful Super Bowl ads and published it earlier this week in a post titled “The Keys To Successful Super Bowl Ads”. With that, here is our news for this week for you.

Pokémon Super Bowl ad takes the lead with 12+ million views

Pokémon’s Super Bowl teaser ad has earned over 12 million views on YouTube as I write this and it is one of the most popular teasers so far. It is an inspirational teaser of the actual Super Bowl ad which we’ll likely only see on the 7th.

According to Marketing Land:

Through February 2nd, the most popular overall online video is Pokémon’s extended version of its 20th anniversary commercial. says that video has been seen more than 11.4 million times, and also earned more than 305,000 social mentions — tops in both categories among Super Bowl advertisers.

Other popular videos:

Twitter’s battle for relevance

This Super Bowl isn’t just going to be a high stakes contest for the two teams competing or advertisers seeking buzz and sales. It is also a high stakes battle for relevance between Twitter (historically, the dominant real-time social platform for major events like the Super Bowl) and its challengers; Facebook and YouTube. As you’ll see from the last topic, below, Facebook has become a strong option for marketers. Twitter is scrambling to protect its edge as the first and primary service US users will pick to share their Super Bowl experiences and follow the action. According to Digiday’s article titled “Twitter’s content head tells brands how to win the Super Bowl”:

You could call Super Bowl 50 Twitter’s Super Bowl.

The game is the messaging service’s opportunity to prove its ultimate value as the second screen for real-time conversation around live events. This has always been Twitter’s main focus, but it has never been more essential than now, as the company is under new leadership and faces more doubters than ever.

The micro-messaging platform has been courting brands with a number of options including its relatively recent Moments product and branded emojis. This video promoting the NBA’s return to Twitter emphasizes the importance Twitter places on major sporting events and the central role it sees Moments assuming as an engagement tool:

Brands are able to buy Promoted Moments and these could be very interesting engagement options for brands during the Super Bowl. According to AdWeek:

On Sunday, Pepsi will run a Promoted Moment during the Super Bowl in conjunction with a custom emoji of music notes floating out of a can of soda that automatically pop up whenever someone tweets #PepsiHalftime. The effort is part of PepsiCo’s strategy to put 40 percent of its Super Bowl campaign toward digital.

As I mentioned earlier, Twitter has created a number of branded emojis for a few brands. The cost of these branded emoji are reported to be around $1 million and some brands see these are preferable to Super Bowl ads. Again, according to AdWeek:

Instead of running a $5 million Super Bowl TV ad, “some of our clients have been talking about custom emojis on Twitter—this kind of investment could yield five custom, completely bespoke emojis on the Twitter platform,” said Jesse Cahill, head of planning for North America at Essence.

Coca-Cola is one of the brands that has taken advantage of this service offering. Twitter shared the branded emoji a few months ago and you may have noticed it already:

Extra: #AvosInSpace rule Twitter

One of the most used hashtags on Twitter is all about avocados, believe it or not. Marketing Land has reported that the #AvosInSpace hashtag has “50 percent more hashtag mentions” than the next closest contender. The hashtag is being promoted by Avocados from Mexico and the campaign includes a video which has a very modest 279,514 views on YouTube (as I type this):

That hasn’t stopped the hashtag from taking off on Twitter, though. It is remarkable to see fans so passionate about their avocados and a reminder that success on social media isn’t reserved for the flashy brands.

Facebook overtakes YouTube with video

Facebook is challenging YouTube’s dominance in online video and is has just (barely) surpassed YouTube, according to a report by Marketing Land titled “Facebook Surpasses YouTube, Barely, In Super Bowl Commercial Video Views”. According to Marketing Land:

In data sent to Marketing Land counting video views through Tuesday (February 2nd), the company says there have been 75 million Super Bowl ad video views on Facebook, compared to 74.9 million on YouTube. Last year at this time, says YouTube had a big lead in video views — 87.6 million to 45.5 million.

Natively published content tends to perform better on Facebook and that may be why embedded videos don’t seem to have attracted nearly as many views and native YouTube videos. I looked up that popular Pokémon teaser ad on Facebook. It was published by embedding the YouTube link and attracted a mere 126,710 likes on Facebook.

The Heinz ad performed pretty well on Facebook, comparatively speaking, with 1.4 million views (as I write this). This is probably due, to a degree, to the video being shared natively on Facebook:

This year may be the year Facebook overtakes YouTube as a preferred platform for video content although it is worth bearing in mind the controversy over how Facebook measures views compared to other platforms.

Further reading:

Other stories that caught our attention:

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