What made Esurance's Super Bowl ad campaign stand out was that it was one of the only companies to hold a contest this year. It gave away a little more than $1 million to 17 people. It also leveraged digital media techniques to get viewers involved. To enter the contest, it asked Twitter users to retweet its tweets further spreading brand awareness. It also tried to react in real time, including posting videos where it face-timed with winners soon after they notified they won cash prizes.
"We approached the Super Bowl the way we approach our insurance: modern, effective and innovative," said Nancy Abraham, Esurance vice president of integrated marketing communications.
Mountain Dew, which also had a much talked about commercial with its "puppymonkeybaby" creature. The topic trended on Twitter throughout the game. Although Amobee found that most of the social conversations around the hashtag were negative, both the brand and Sysomos said chatter was mostly positive.
"Some of the past Super Bowl spots that have done really well have had a puppy or a baby," said Sadira Furlow, director of brand marketing for Mountain Dew. "Consumers love animals in general. We were really look for a way to draw awareness to Mountain Dew Kickstart."
Furlow said the company predicted that the commercial would trend online, so it was prepared with a social media strategy of puppymonkeybaby clips and GIFs to post online. About half of the tweets were planned, with the other half custom content posted in response to key online influencers who were tweeting about their ad. The team huddled in a social media "war room" throughout the game.
"We're not responding to the negativity," she said. "Eighty percent of the conversation is positive or neutral. It is trending because of interest and intrigue."
Advertising agency Warschawski CEO David Warschawski pointed out that Mountain Dew's ad connected with its target demographic of young men. He said the strategy was smart to combine three things people usually love in Super Bowl commercials, and use the wacky concept to reinforce what the company was about.
"Most of the ad trackers or the way people look at advertising today is that they look at it under the lens of if it was great entertainment. Did people like it? But that isn't great advertising. If you're trying to make an emotional connection with a 25-year-old male, your mother shouldn't love that commercial as well. Too many advertisers make everyone love an ad and that isn't the right approach."