In one of the more tame games in recent Super Bowl history, Peyton Manning (and let’s be honest, the Bronco defense) led Denver to a win, taking home a championship ring after a low scoring, low blood pressure fight. Not much happened in the game, but Super Bowl 50 ads were filled with celebrities, weird hybrid animals and outlandish plot schemes. Below, we break down the Super Bowl 50 brand winners, the losers, and the running trends that defined the ad game. We will know the real winners when we see which brands had the most revenue growth for the quarter, but for now, here are the real time champs:


Doritos did not disappoint at #SB50, with the release of two UGC ads from its final “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. The snack brand’s big ad winner was the one set in an ultrasound appointment, with a cringe-worthy scene involving a fetus craving Doritos. There may have been unanimous groans from women across the country, but the laughter outweighed any negative reactions. Both of Doritos’ UGC ads lit up social media, causing Dorito’s already massive influencer index to spike from 99 to 104. Additionally, its #CrashtheSuperBowl hashtag was responsible for 33% of the Super Bowl ad discussion on Twitter.


Of Hyundai’s two Super Bowl commercials, its ad featuring comedian Kevin Hart was a big winner of #SB50. The ad has been almost unanimously voted as the top Super Bowl ad of 2016, while another featuring Ryan Reynolds did similarly well, even though neither led to any big influencer index changes similar to Dorito’s. Although it may be too soon to say if they will drive actual sales for Hyundai, the two celebrity driven ad spots did make a huge splash on social: Hyundai’s PTAT score spiked from 15k (prior to the game) to 184k on Monday morning- that is a 1,395% increase in people talking about the brand over the weekend.


In the one of the more emotional ad spots of the game, Jeep showed how to do celebrity marketing right in its “Portraits Ad,” showing photos of celebrities like BB King who were known for actually driving Jeeps, as well as making references to Hollywood productions and historical events in a montage aimed to describe the company’s role in US history. AdWeek declared Jeep the ad winner of #SB50 for driving a 14% engagement rate, a metric that AdWeek determined by combining total likes, comment, shares and tweets. Jeep’s Influencer placement was brilliant because it was used in the context of people and events that were involved with Jeep, and it effectively delivered a memorable impression of the spirit of the brand without focusing on the product itself. 

Overall Winning #SB50 Trend: Celebrity Influencers

Celebrity influencers won #SB50. From Drake’s cell phone spot with T-Mobile, to the cast of ‘The Wire’ pulling a heist in a Prius, macro-influencer marketing was the name of the game for the ads that scored high on social media and all those ‘top ads’ lists you keep seeing online. The best influencer ads were the ones who used celebrities in the context of their product, such as T-Mobile’s spoof on Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. Some of the more random celebrity influencer spots included Ryan Reynolds advertising Hyundai and Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen pushing for Bud Light.



Shock Top

Shock Top’s ad placement in the Bowl was supposed to be its pseudo-coming out party as a main beer brand contender, with a celebrity influencer (TJ Miller) and a follow up commercial that mocked the other Super Bowl ads in a fake review.  However, its spot in the Super Bowl may have alienated it from its core consumer base, as its Influencer Index plummeted from 20.85 to 5.44 after Super Bowl weekend. This means that every post created by a micro-influencer on its Facebook page drove 15 less engagements after the ad showed than before, which is a direct contradiction to any brand goal, let alone a $5 million brand goal like a Super Bowl ad. Let’s put that into even more alarming context: Shock Top’s PTAT score dropped by 40%, too. If Shock Top’s most influential fans are disengaging with it to this extent on social, then maybe the brand’s decision to go mainstream will be detrimental to its business objectives. Craft beer snobs are a tricky audience, after all. 

Mountain Dew

In a now infamous flop, Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby” commercial was the biggest fail of #SB50. Not only did the commercial’s plot itself raise eyebrows, but the product promotion of Mountain Dew’s new drink was entirely lost in the commotion over the ad itself; what was it called again? Because no one remembers… Ah, yes, KickStart. Although the commercial drove the highest hashtag activity of any ad during the game (over 4,000 mentions within one minute of the ad airing), it seems unlikely that any of this buzz will translate to sales for the new drink. Watch the ad again if you dare…

Overall Losing Trend: Social Media

#SB50 was a pretty slow game, and it reflected a slow night for social media. Facebook engagement was down 25% from last year, reporting 60 million people who created 200 million posts, in comparison to the 65 million that created 265 million posts last year. Facebook’s Sports Stadium was underwhelming, and users complained about several delays in score and play updates on the new platform that was released in timing specifically for the Bowl. Twitter experienced an even bigger slump, with a drop of game related tweets of about 33%, from 25 million to 16 million tweets sent. However, Twitter’s responded that it generated a total of 27 million tweets, by including both the pre- and post-game show time slots. Additionally, Twitter posted that those tweets generated 4.3 billion impressions, a jump up from the 2.3 billion impressions last year. This reflects Twitter’s investment in basing social media success off of how many views something receives, versus how many individual and active engagements it drives. Not including this new metric, social media channels were decidedly slow this year.

super bowl 50 graph

source: AdWeek

*Honorable Mention*

T-Mobile & Drake

In an ad created for marketers by marketers, T-Mobile’s ad spot featuring Drake highlighted a dialogue that advertisers and brand execs know all too well. The creative feedback loop struggle is real. T-Mobile wasn’t a #BOTB contender in our previous blog posts, but the Mavrck marketing team couldn’t help but give a shout out to this ad, on behalf of anyone who has ever been in a creative position and forced to endure a brainstorm session like this one. Also, kudos to Drake for his fantastic acting chops (#Degrassi).

What do the numbers say?

How it works:

Our Super Bowl Brand Battle contenders are scored using Mavrck’s Fan Grader. This free tool measures engagement with a brand’s Facebook page driven by its top 100 micro-influencers on posts published during the past 30 days. The brand with the highest total overall engagement will be crowned the victor. If it comes down to a tie, the tiebreaker will be the highest average Influencer Index, which averages the Influencer Index of a brand\’s top micro-influencers, based on the likes and replies driven per comment.

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