There can be no doubt that last weekend's Super Bowl 50 is big business. Massive celebrity endorsement across social media, the national anthem sung by Lady Ga Ga and millions tuning in to watch the event and it's half-time show featuring Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and Beyoncé. 30 second television adverts alone sold for $5 million through CBS, which equates to around $166, 666.00 per second!
What struck me whilst watching, was the overwhelming prevalence of hashtags on all the adverts, particularly the movie trailers. Hashtags were in 45 percent of Super Bowl 50 ads, slightly down from 50 percent last year. Twitter and Facebook tied as the most-mentioned social networks, though neither was explicitly mentioned often. For hashtags, 45 percent is the lowest percentage in Super Bowl ads since MarketingLand.com has been tracking their usage over the last four years. In 2014, hashtag usage in Super Bowl ads hit a peak of 57 percent. It was 50 percent for 2013 and 2015. The lowest usage was in 2012.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ads were dominated by the massive global brands, soft drinks, snacks, car manufacturers and of course 2016's upcoming movie trailers. You may remember our post from a few weeks back, about how the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane had snuck it's way onto social media with little introduction, in such covert fashion that when it hit, audiences went wild on social channels about it. Well, it was in there again at the Super Bowl using it's same quietly unassuming hashtag of #Cloverfield, but some went seriously over the top with theirs, all of which led to most of them trending over the course of the weekend and into this morning.
Here's our top ten movies and #hashtags from the Super Bowl :
10. 10 Cloverfield Lane - #Cloverfield
We've already mentioned this one a few times, but they're sticking with the classic #Cloverfield, no doubt to tie it in with the previous movie and connect with an already established audience for their almost home-movie/monster/invasion genre.
9. Deadpool - #Deadpool
The Ryan Reynolds fronted and produced movie for one of the Marvel Universe's most anti of heroes, stuck with it's namesake, no-frills hashtag as it begins to hit cinemas this week. With all the promo work they've put in up-front, it's been trending for several weeks already. It looks like a sure-fire hit for Valentine's weekend.
8. Gods of Egypt - #GodsofEgypt
I would have expected the all-star cast and massive scale of this production to have this hashtag trending already as the movie studio's colossal media engine has been in overdrive in recent weeks. It was trending this weekend, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons as it's being held up by social media audiences of another example to be added to the 'all-white oscars' boycott as very few of the actors used in the promotional material are of an ethnic background for a movie based in the middle-east.
7. Jason Bourne - #JasonBourne #BourneBetrayal
The return of Matt Damon to the Bourne franchise was met with the loudest cheer of the night in my household, louder than any of the plays on the field. In no small part I think the return of the original and best Bourne (sorry Jeremy Renner!) and the no-nonsense approach to the trailer, re-awakened fans of the films and it's hashtags are still trending now.
6. Independence Day : Resurgence - #IndependenceDayMovie #IDR
It's a long title to try and cram into a concise hashtag, so they've gone from one extreme to the other with the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster with one hashtag that uses the whole movie title and another that just abbreviates it's initials. Interesting choice considering the original movie had the rather unique #ID4 to coincide with it's 4th of July release date. No such genius at work here though, unfortunately.
5. Disney's The Jungle Book - #JungleBookTrailer
Clearly fans of telling it like it is, Disney opted for a pretty self-explanatory hashtag for their trailer of the live-action version of The Jungle Book. Again, devoid of any particular imagination and by opting to specify this is for the 'trailer' may cause problems for longevity when the movie actually comes out further down the line.
4. Eddie The Eagle - #EddieTheEagle
Another nice and simple use of the hashtag here, which is easily recognisable to a British audience. I'm not too sure whether a US or global audience is quite as familiar with the ski-jumper's story as we are though.
3. X-Men Apocalypse - #XMenApocalypse #XMEN
The trend of jamming a whole movie title continues with X-Men Apocalypse (let's hope they don't do the same for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!) as the franchise and it's familiar cast return to the big screen.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - #TMNT2 #NinjaTurtles2 #TMNTMovie #Krang
Some nice and concise abbreviation here to make sure that the mouthful of a movie title fits nicely in a few hashtags here. I particularly like the use of #Krang as a little insight into what to expect from the film itself, other than Arrow's Steven Amell of course!
1. Captain America : Civil War - #CivilWar #TeamCap #TeamIronMan
This movie title had the potential to create an incredibly long hashtag that no-one could hope to possibly squeeze into a tweet. Instead, the Marvel cinematic universe has decided to focus on the film's plot of essentially Captain America vs Iron Man and getting the audience to decide who's side they're on, which is a great engagement tactic. They're also asking their audience to speculate as to which of the other 'supers' will be taking which side. Whilst it's an excellent participation device, it's also led to the creation of a whole further raft of hashtags like #WarMachine #Hulk #Thor #BlackWidow #AntMan #BlackPanther #ScarletWitch (you get the idea!) as they all feature in the movie!
It's clear that the bigger the franchise, the bigger the hashtag or number of hastags in use. But is hashtag use in decline as the figures from the Super Bowl suggest? Or do our audiences simply expect a higher quality of hashtags that better relate to the material? As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts.