Super Bowl XLVI Automotive Ads – The Post-game Reckoning


The New York Giants may have won the game on the field, but the online battle for top video ad is still going strong. 

We took a sample of the data yesterday, to provide for a pre and post-game view of the main contenders, and learned that Honda’s Ferris Bueler themed videos were firmly in the lead for views, if not social shares. 

But less than 18 hours later, the leaderboard has changed to underline just how competitive the battle has become.

First things first, if you were following the Twitter feed last night of @unrulymedia or @VideoChart, then you’ll have noticed the following stats;

  1. <40 million people were estimated to have shared their favourite ads online 'after' the game (35 million of these via Facebook)
  2. It was estimated that 2.5 million people would send their favourite Super Bowl ads to their friends using YouTube 
  3. The highest tweets per second came at the end of the game – 12,233, followed by the second highest during Madonna’s performance, reaching 10,245 tweets per second.
  4. Whilst in the final 3 minutes of the Super Bowl game, an average of 10,000 tweets per second were sent. 

If you’re head’s not spinning from those numbers, then let’s take a look at the Automotive brands and what changed on our scoreboard overnight.


Yesterday’s Pre-game data (as of 05/2/2012 at 17:00 GMT)

Campaign Brand Total Views Social Shares % Shares/View
The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day (Teaser) Volkswagen 11,909,095 (+15.4%) 692,825 (+10.3%) 5.82 (-0.28%)
“Coming Soon” and “Matthew’s Day Off” Honda CR-V Honda 16,617,676 (+99.08%) 329,256 (+33.60%) 1.98 (-0.97)
Volkswagen: The Dog Strikes Back commercial Volkswagen 3,800,953 (NEW) 118,712 3.12
Audi “Daylight” Vampire Party Audi 4,059,738 (+100.2%) 58,154 (+73.96%) 1.43 (-0.22)
“Transactions” Acura NSX Ad feat. Jerry Seinfeld & Jay Leno Acura (luxury brand of Honda) 14,095,155 (+1941%) 50,568 (+459.6%) 0.36 (-0.95)
Kia Optima: “A Dream Car. For Real Life.” Kia 761,156 (NEW) 17,778 2.34
It’s Reinvented! — Toyota Camry Toyota 2,030,717 (+1447%) 12,486 (+710) 0.61 (-0.56)
Suzuki “Sled” 2012 Super Bowl Ad Suzuki Auto 353,459 (+227.94%) 4,172 (+43.17%) 1.18 (-1.52)


The post-game reckoning

Since yesterday evening our Top 10 Super Bowl Ads gained 15.2 million views between them – climbing from a total of 54 million to 69 million views.  The biggest gains were made by Volkswagen, with “Bark Side” climbing from 11.9 million views to 23.9 million and social shares rising modestly from 692,825 to 705,760. 

The second of Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ads, and the main feature spot during the game, “The Dog Strikes Back”, rose from 3.8 million up to 4.65 million views and from 118,712 to 145,982 social shares, proving that audiences are more interested in a dog symphony than the re-creation of a Star Wars pub in Tatooine.  Nevertheless, when combined Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ads are now back ahead of the competition with 28.55 million views and 851,742 shares.

After a surge leading up to Super Bowl 46, Honda’s Ferris Bueler inspired ads, “Coming Soon” and “Matthew’s Day Off”, have suddenly stalled, rising only 850,000 views overnight from 16.6 million to 17.45 million views. 

Honda’s luxury brand Acura performed slightly better, rising 1.4 million views from 14.1 million to 15.5 million and from 50,568 to 55,599 shares.

The Automotive sector remained dominant, although we lost 1 brand from the Top 10 (Kia Optima: “A Dream Car. For Real Life.”) and a few new entrants joined the race to become king of the Super Bowl car ads.

You’d be brave man (or woman) to bet against Volkswagen, but then let’s wait and see once the bulk of social sharing occurs during the next few weeks.  The acid test for a viral video is when its meme is adopted and re-personalised by ordinary people, when it moves outside the reach of paid promotion and connects with a wider audience reached through social and earned media.

Judging by the comments coming through on our YouTube channel, many people are only ‘just’ discovering these ads, so there’s plenty more to learn as these campaigns start to become talking points (or not) in environments outside the influence of their promoting brand.