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Which Brand Had the Highest Blended Media Score at the Super Bowl
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Which Brand Had the Highest Blended Media Score at the Super Bowl

Pete Blackshaw, EVP, Digital Strategic Services and Randall Beard, EVP & General Manager, Nielsen IAG

How do you really measure the total advertising effectiveness of a Super Bowl ad? This is a complicated question because TV advertising increasingly triggers a host of direct or indirect online activity, from visiting a website to talking about the ad on Twitter or Facebook. Recently at Nielsen we began testing a new metric, the Blended Media Score (BMS), with the goal of giving brands and content providers a more complete view of ad effectiveness. This BMS metric tracks the impact from traditional “Paid Media” (TV ads, banner ads) but also “blends” data from online buzz and social media – what we’re calling “Earned Media.” There’s no better environment to road test this Blended Media Score than the Super Bowl, where the online conversations can impact brand perception in new and meaningful ways both before and after a traditional ad hits the airwaves.

Biggest Bowl and Biggest Buzz

Roughly 106.5 million tuned into CBS’ telecast of Super Bowl XLIV, making it the most watched TV program ever in the United States. In addition, the game generated the highest volume of online conversation and “Earned Media,” with conversation spikes on Facebook and Twitter playing a disproportionate role in the growth of overall conversation.

Blended Media Scorecard for Super Bowl XLIV
RANK Brand Paid Media* Earned Media** Total
1 Budweiser 195 147 242
2 Doritos 164 162 225
3 Denny’s 136 153 189
4 Dockers 101 160 161
5 Snickers 129 111 140
6 Google 117 117 134
7 Coca-Cola 136 93 129
8 Bridgestone Tires 130 94 124
9 Etrade 100 121 121
10 Emerald Nuts 105 110 115
Source: The Nielsen Company

*Paid Factors: Ad Recall, Ad Appeal, Likeability, Sponsorships, In-Program placements,

Total paid time, Viewership during ad airing.

**Earned Factors: Lift in Brand Buzz, Brand Super Bowl Buzz, Consumer Sentiment, Social Media

Follower growth

The top Blended Media Score performers for the 2010 Super Bowl managed to perform well in both earned media (buzz volume, sentiment, increased engagement through social media channels) and paid media (recall, likeability, audience/reach).

Brands that succeeded in only one area fell in the middle of the pack for their BMS ranking. For example, Focus on the Family over-indexed on earned media due to their very high volume of conversation (122) but under-indexed in paid media (80), causing them to fall 16th out of 43 advertisers.

Brands that offered free products or trial incentives (Denny’s, Dockers) over-performed in earned media relative to other advertisers. The offers not only spurred higher levels of buzz, but also appeared to provide unique “pass along” currency to consumers. Specifically, Denny’s succeeded largely due to the earned media its advertising gained because of the “free factor.” Offering free breakfast won over consumers and led to very high likability scores as well as a large amount of online discussion. Their frequent updates and teasers on Facebook led to many individuals becoming fans of the brand online.

E*Trade leveraged a integrated social media campaign to gain attention of their Facebook page and YouTube channel. They integrated their Facebook page across their full advertising strategy; as a result, they experienced a large influx of Facebook fans and experienced the second largest increase in fans among all advertisers.

Post-Game Plan

So where is this going? The first half of 2010 will see the single largest concentration of high-spend “advertising” events in recent memory in the form of the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, and World Cup. Our Super Bowl analysis is the first phase of a three-part “Trifecta” that will take a deep and holistic cross-platform look at advertising effectiveness. All three of these events will involve unprecedented levels of integrated marketing, and we’ll continue applying BMS to these events.

Additional support and analysis: Kim Cox, Alka Gupta and Nina Stratt