Football fans were treated to a classic Sunday evening as the Kansas City Chiefs edged out the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 at Super Bowl LVII. The halftime show performed by pop icon Rihanna was also a certified hit, according to social media data pulled together by influencer platform Influential.
Below are the biggest takeaways.
Game-related buzz. The Super Bowl is more than just a game, it’s a marketing bonanza. That said, only 10% of social media buzz related to the Super Bowl spoke directly to the ads. And despite a controversial penalty late in the game, only 13% of the chatter was about in-game moments.
The larger slice of the pie was claimed by general talk about the teams and players, and about Rihanna (and not just about her singing or lip-syncing — see next section).
The Chiefs (25%) and Eagles (20%) combined for nearly half of the attention on social. Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts combined for 8%. The halftime performer, Rihanna, garnered 24% – almost as much as the Super Bowl champs, and three times more than the QBs.
Rihanna buzz. Compared with the previous year’s halftime performance — featuring a full roster of talent that included Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent — Rihanna’s halftime show drove seven percent higher positive sentiment, according to Influential’s research.
Fans tuned into the game took great interest in Rihanna, and not just about the nostalgic hits she sang. They wondered if she was pregnant. The top search on Google during the performance was, plainly stated, “Is Rihanna pregnant?” according to YouTube AdBlitz, YouTube’s official blog for all things Super Bowl. (A rep for the singer later confirmed that, yes, Rihanna is pregnant.)
Here were the top five searches:
1. Is Rihanna pregnant?
2. Rihanna baby
3. Super Bowl 2023
4. A$AP Rocky
5. Is Rihanna married?
And here are the top five Rihanna-related searches that trended during halftime:
1. Is Rihanna pregnant?
2. When did Rihanna have her son?
3. How old is Rihanna’s son?
4. How old is Rihanna
5. How much did Rihanna get paid for Super Bowl?
Purchase intent. Apple Music, the sponsor for the Rihanna halftime show, certainly gained a lot of attention overall by having such a popular performer take part in the event. In terms of turning all the Super Bowl attention to products and sales, The Farmer’s Dog drove more purchase-related discussions on social than any other spot during the game.
Why we care. It’s the nature of celebrity that people will google questions about famous people that they might think twice about asking someone else in a regular social setting. Super Bowl LVII showed that the halftime show doesn’t have to provoke controversy on the order of a “wardrobe malfunction” to be sticky for consumers’ attention.
Marketers should remain optimistic about the ability for live events like the Super Bowl to attract attention, and that viewers are still interested in the game itself. If it’s too much of a spectacle, viewers my tune out the game altogether, and that would diminish the opportunity for brands to make a mark.
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