Even in an age of social media there’s still something about Superbowl advertising that appeals to us all. Maybe it’s because the game is the last big common media experience we share anymore; we know that everyone else will be hearing and watching the same jokes as we are. Perhaps it’s because we relish the fact that for one night every advertiser out there will actually attempt to entertain us, rather than insult us with the idiotic messages that interrupt most programming. Or it might just be all the pre-game hype that obligates us to pay attention. After all we’ll need an opinion come Monday morning.
Whatever the reason, we still look forward with anticipation to ads we hope will live up to all the anticipation.
But since this the age of social media – the ability to join in, share our thoughts, connect with friends and enjoy instant gratification – Mullen thought it would combine the two by creating Brandbowl2010. It’s a simple site that lets you tweet and follow posts from anyone using our hashtag #brandbowl. But thanks to our developers and UX team, and some help from our friends at Radian6, Brandbowl will also include close to real time reaction to the brands advertising on the game by analyzing conversation from everyone on Twitter, not just those using the hashtag.
If Twitter’s API cooperates, we should have a pretty robust experience, counting total number of tweets per brand (we can’t actually analyze each spot separately due to the challenges with isolating a comment, i.e. “loved that Bud spot,” would be hard to assign to a specific commercial), capturing sentiment, and calculating a ranking based on a combination of chatter volume and reaction. In addition, we’ll have word clouds to show you what people are saying. You won’t have to wait until until Monday morning and USA Today to know what brands did best; we’ll have it throughout the game.
It’s been a fun and challenging project, combining integrated teams from Mullen and Radian6, but not without its challenges. For example, how do we know we’re grabbing tweets that refer to the spots, not to a brand in another context? How do we resolve a brand named Dodge, when the word dodge would easily be used to describe a running back’s technique. In test runs we had to eliminate the word Charger, too, as there are lots of people on Twitter talking about San Diego’s football team daily.
So we’ve grabbed as many hashtags as we could find (#brandbowl as well as #adbowl, #superads, #SB44ads, et.al.) We’ve studied lists of spots and scoured the web for any information that would help – celebrities appearing in spots for example – and then created combinations of words to increase the likelihood we don’t grab anything that isn’t a comment about a commercial.
In addition we’ll monitor the game throughout, modifying keywords based on the storylines in the commercials. (If Honda has squirrels in its commercial, we need to add squirrels to a combination of words.)
Why are we doing this? Going to all this trouble ourselves, just so you and our friends and clients and employees can screw around on Twitter during the game? Because we can. Because it’s fun to make stuff, to experiment. It’s valuable to learn by doing. And finally because doing it is better than talking about it.
If it doesn’t work? Crashes? Falls victim to Twitter’s API? So what. Failure, too, can be a great lesson. Let’s hope that’s not the case, however. Wish us luck, and most importantly, join us at Brandbowl2010.com and #brandbowl.