Are the $5 million Super Bowl ads worth it? Tennessee student studies trends on social media


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Funny and quirky commercials are often said to be one of the main reasons why people watch the big game.

Those iconic advertisements peaked Alex Carter’s interest and became his career of choice.

Carter, currently studying for his P.h.d. at the University of Tennessee, he decided to spend his Sunday night watching Super Bowl LIV, but for a different reason than most: to study the commercials.

“So these companies are spending over $5 million each to air commercials during the Super Bowl, and I’m kind of seeing (if) people talking about it. Are they actually kind of getting their moneys worth out of it,” Carter asked.

Carter said that a 30-second commercial costs around $5.6 million for the spot. A full minute commercial costs about double that.

“When it comes to spending millions of dollars, that’s a huge economic impact on a company. That’s you know, for some of my clients that I used to work with, that was their yearly budget,” Carter said.

To find out if that advertisement space is worth the money, Carter uses the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.

He records which commercials aired at what time and uses keywords to track how each advertisement is being talked about on social media.

For this study, Carter focused specifically on Twitter chatter.

“With my dashboard, I can kind of compare every single ad over time all on one screen. So, being able to see all that information back to back to back like that really tells a story,” Carter said.

Carter noticed that Tide’s Tide Pod commercials were doing well on twitter, but some of the newer companies were struggling, meaning they had very little mentions.

“Like Olay made a really good choice. They’ve got over 33,000 tweets in the past 45 minutes. They have a sentiment score of 92%. So it’s positive, and so some of that may be sarcastic, (but) that’s such a small margin of error, they’re definitely doing something right with that,” Carter said.

Carter will post his findings in a series of three blogs, which you can find in the next few days at this link.

He said one post will have an overall outlook about the ‘winners’ and ‘losers,’ along with some of the trends.

He will also do a comparison of the car commercials and a comparison of movie trailers.

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