Which Super Bowl Hashtag Performed Best?

The Big Game was a blowout on the field, but that didn’t stop the titans of cars, snacks, beer and website hosting from warring in 15, 30 and 60 second spots. Advertisers are getting savvier about integrating social media into their $4 million commercials (the average going rate for a 30-second spot this year), but whose hashtag won the day?

Marketingland.com reported that of the 54 ads observed, 57% included a hashtag, while less than 10% of ads included links to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Some advertisers, like Cheerios, M&M and Kia, didn’t include social links at all.

Of the 31 ads that did include hashtags, which performed best?

Bud Light #UpForWhatever

Bud Light’s ambitious #UpForWhatever spots featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, One Republic, Don Cheadle and a llama asking beer drinkers everywhere if they were #UpForWhatever. Apparently no, they are not. Only 5,000 occurrences of the hashtag appeared on Twitter (all stats from midnight February 2 to noon February 3, courtesy of Sysomos) despite more than 9.5 million ad views on YouTube.

Budweiser #BestBuds

One of Budweiser’s other ads featured its iconic Clydesdales with an adorable golden retriever puppy, called #BestBuds. The hashtag #BestBuds appeared more than 105,000 times on Twitter, even if some of those results were not brand related. A full integration of the hashtag on the Budweiser YouTube channel (37 million views and counting) and an enjoyable spot definitely didn’t hurt matters.

Coca-Cola #AmericaIsBeautiful

Coke’s multilingual #AmericaIsBeautiful ad stirred up a bit of controversy in some circles, helping its hashtag top 41,000 on Twitter. The ad was also viewed 800,000 times on YouTube, garnering a ton of comments surrounding the debate.

Esurance #EsuranceSave30

The big winner of the hashtag sweepstakes is Esurance, which set up a straightforward and simple presence with pitchman and loveable The Office star, John Krasinski. Krasinski informs the audience that the money Esurance saved by advertising after the Super Bowl ($1.5 million) would be given away to someone who tweeted the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. In less than 24 hours, #EsuranceSave30 had been tweeted more than 3.1 million times, filling Twitter feeds for hours after the conclusion of the game.

It takes more than hashtags to determine who won or lost the Super Bowl social media ad wars, but with more and more traditional ads including hashtags, Esurance showed everyone how it’s done on the biggest stage of the year.