Big Game LVI: Key insights
And the winner is… the Los Angeles Rams! The Big Game is more than just a match between the two best teams of the season. The Big Game is the biggest cultural event of the year in the US. Brands, sponsors, artists, and media will engage in a bid to capture the attention of millions of fans, viewers, and followers off and online.
This year, we looked at how brands are fighting for the inches that will get them closer to their customers before and after the Big Game. We analyzed billions of consumer data points and came up with a unique set of 40 exclusive insight cardsl to reveal key findings that your brand can't afford to miss.
In addition to the 40 insight cards, we collected all key figures and insights about what happened during the Super Bowl. Players, teams, commercials, food, halftime show… all the most important trends and learnings are listed below.
Game Insights: The Rams won it all
- Praise for players: Fans praised players on both teams, as they loved to watch their favorite players. Once the confetti fell for the Rams, fans were quick to praise Matthew Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr. and countless others in the Rams for their first ring.
- Fans in odd places: While conversation for both teams was spread evenly, there were some major pockets of note as Louisiana leaned heavily towards the former LSU Tiger, Joe Burrow and the Bengals, and Michigan leaned heavily towards the former Detroit Lions QB, Matthew Stafford.
The game played on and off the field, and on Super Bowl Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams won both!
No matter the team or location, the Big Game will always draw the eyes of football fans across the world. The number of results around the game rose slightly from 2020 to 2021 (3.1 million to 3.2 million), before taking a massive spike to 5.8 Million results. This was largely driven by a perfect storm of a game that went down to the wire for the win and an incredible halftime show.
Leading up to the game, fans couldn’t stop talking about Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals after their impressive upset of Kansas City Chiefs. Burrow made up 30.2% of mentions surrounding the team, followed by his teammates Jamarr Chase (6.6%) and Evan McPherson (1.4%). For the Rams, it was about more established stars like Matthew Stafford (10.7%), Cooper Kupp(9.1%), and Aaron Donald (5.7%) that made up the mentions for the Rams.
Conversations started off positively for fans of both teams as they got excited about the game, but quickly changed as the game went underway.
Once the game evolved, the teams started to dip into the negative as both teams were close until around 9:00 PM when the Rams mounted their fourth quarter comeback to win the game.
The Rams is the team people talked about the most across the country.
As you look out to the US, the Rams largely took up most conversations in the States as the victors. However, if you look at some pockets of the country, you’ll see some unique conversations. In Louisiana, fans skewed towards the Bengals as their former LSU Tiger, Joe Burrow, was leading the Bengals.. Even in Michigan, they were rooting for the Rams as Stafford spent most of his career in Detroit with the Lions.
Big Game commercials: Bold ideas rewarded
- Electric vehicles and crypto arrive: Crypto ended up having the top ad of the night, with Coinbase for both positive and negative reasons.
- Campaigns beyond the ad: Leading up to the actual game, celebrities in the ads or paid influencers would promote the campaign. Some examples came from Doritos and Cheetos, as their celebrities tweeted out teasers for the ads or even “leaked” the full ad.
- Giveaways galore: In order to increase engagement around their ad release, companies like Budweiser, FTX, and Expedia utilized hashtag campaigns to give prizes to their fans in the lead up/release of their ad.
Another key event the non-football focus is on is something that most times of the year fans ignore: the ads. The high viewership of the game is the perfect opportunity for companies to showcase their new products or features coming up in the year, and it’s a rare opportunity for companies to get creative.
For this year’s edition of the ads, one of the key trends heading into the Big Game was the power of cryptocurrency (5 ads) and electric vehicles (4 ads), in their first foray into the game. One of these ads ended up being the ad of the night, with Coinbase’s simple yet nostalgic ad of a QR code screensaver, akin to a DVD loading screen.
It became the most engaged ad of the night with 535,900 engagements. However, the praise turned quickly to criticism as fans tried to log onto the site en masse, causing the site to crash. That gaffe turned into 30,600 negative mentions trolling the company over the issue. The top performing tweet around this gaffe showed the power of this issue had over souring the mood for the ad:
Coinbase just spent $14 million for a color-changing QR code to bounce around on the screen for 30-seconds during the Super Bowl…— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 14, 2022
And the website crashed.
One tweet about Coinbase’s crash quickly spread out across social media and negatively impacted an otherwise great ad.
Other cryptocurrency ads, outside of Coinbase, garnered good conversation:
- FTX - 230.6K mentions
- Coinbase - 71.2K mentions
- Crypto.com - 12.5K mentions
- EToro - 7.2K mentions
As for the second major trend in this game, surrounding electric vehicles, General Motors’ nostalgic rollout of electric vehicles with the cast of “Austin Powers” won the night with 136,900 mentions with 19,000 engagements:
General Motors drove off with the winning electric vehicle ads: conversations - 19K, engagements - 136.9K, positive sentiment - 34.6%
- BMW - 7,100 mentions, 33,900 engagements
- Nissan - 4,700 mentions, 43,600 engagements
- GM - 3,900 mentions, 33,700 engagements
- KIA - 1,700 mentions, 3,700 engagements
Halftime show: California love
- Show the host city some love and celebrate its culture: As was witnessed with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira celebrating Latin culture in Miami two years ago, this year’s show celebrated West Coast style in host city Los Angeles (California or “Cali” had 438K engagements; The Crip Walk, born in Compton, had 63K engagements). The city of LA can use this momentum heading into hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics.
- Eminem takes a knee: Eminem’s stand with Colin Kaepernick was one of the most discussed moments of the night, garnering 1 Million mentions and 11.2 Million engagements.
- What the performers wear matters: Nike got a boost with rapper Eminem performing in Air Jordan 3s (40K engagements).
The halftime show featured a who’s who of rap and hip hop stars from Dr. Dre to Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige, and their performance drew praise from sports stars and celebrities alike (Lebron James, Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Kerry Washington). The surprise appearance of rapper 50 Cent performing “In Da Club” became meme-worthy. And Bengals kicker Evan McPherson opting to stay on the field for the show grabbed the attention and respect of many.
OMG!!!!!!!!! WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!!! THE GREATEST HALFTIME SHOW IVE EVER SEEN!!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 14, 2022
THAT WAS A BOMB OF RADICAL LOVE THANK YOU #SuperBowl HALFTIME SHOW!! Incredible!! That’s what it’s all about!!— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 14, 2022
Dooooope halftime show!!— John Legend (@johnlegend) February 14, 2022
Officially lost myself. This halftime show is CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY.— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) February 14, 2022
The show was viewed largely positively and had the highest net sentiment score of the past three shows (49%). Negative sentiment centered around rapper Eminem taking the knee, which many believed to be a tribute to former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick (74K results for "knee").
Eminem was easily the most discussed artist of the night.
The top moment of the night outside of the game came during the halftime show, when Eminem took the knee in solidarity with ex NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Out of the 1 million mentions around Eminem’s performance, phrases like “Colin Kaepernick” made up 16.2% of mentions, “Eminem takes a knee” made up 8.8% of mentions, and 8.4% of mentions had the phrases “protesting police”, “kaepernick protesting”, “support Eminem”, and “brave stand”.
The 18th installment of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl drew 67K mentions and 327K engagements as Snoop Dogg’s “Team Fluff” won the game. This year’s game was dedicated to longtime animal advocate Betty White as her name garnered 17K engagements. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden made a second-straight appearance to introduce the new White House puppy Commander. And, as is the norm, Puppy Bowl sponsor Pedigree was the most-recognized brand.
Big Game parties & recipes: 🍕 vs 🥑
- Small snacks for a Big Game: Most conversations are still focused on recipes for appetizers/snacks instead of creating larger meals around the game.
- Food makes you feel good: Super Bowl food is a largely positive talking point amongst consumers as it has a positive sentiment, ranging from 73.2% in 2020, 80.5% in 2021, to 87% in 2022.
- Different diets for fans: Fans also looked for healthy alternatives for Super Bowl snacks, with different recipes that accommodated vegan eaters drawing major engagements (14,200 engagements), followed by keto (13,000 engagements), and gluten free (12,100 engagements).
The Big Game is the perfect opportunity for fans to gather together and celebrate their teams. However, the parties are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic as results around hosting a party steadily declined from 2020 (151,600 results,1.6 Million engagements) to 2021 (119,600 results, 1.3 Million engagements), to this year (59,800 results, 647,700 engagements). However, the one constant amongst these parties across the years has been joy. The top emotion across the last two years has been joy around the game, joy of the friends/family gathering, and the joy of the food.
You can’t have a Big Game party without providing food now, can you? This is the time of year where football fans and foodies can combine their passions, and make the ultimate spread worthy of Instagram.
Over the two years, results around food spiked up 45.5% from 82,900 results to 120,600 results before dipping slightly to 110,700 results this year. While the methods of preparing food changed in the last couple years, the hunger for great food was not deterred.
Big Game food is always a positive talking point amongst fans.
In 2022, there was a return to emphasizing home cooking amongst fans, instead of home delivery last year, which was largely driven by the pandemic. This trend was driven by cooking influencers across YouTube and Instagram. Some videos were created organically by brands (McCormick, Bon Appétit), but conversation was largely driven by fans showcasing their own unique recipes.
Snacks still lead in conversation for the leading category, with appetizers in second and drinks in third. In terms of actual food, pizza was the most engaged with, as fans showcased their love for the multiple versions of pizza: pizza rolls, bagel pizzas, pizza dip, and delivery pizza. Domino's ended up becoming one of the most discussed brands around Super Bowl ads as they paid customers $3 to carry out their pizza, instead of ordering it via delivery to not put too much stress on their delivery staff.