Super Bowl Hashtags – There for Aesthetics or Use?

Another Super Bowl and another list of meaningless Twitter hashtags on the ads. Look at these hashtags to see if you have any idea what brands they belong to: #gethappy #braverywins #nodrama #yourbigidea #wishgranted.

Some hashtags made more sense: #cookiethis #clydesdales and #calvinklein. According to hashtags.org, the more specific hashtags fared better with tens of thousands in use. While the vague hashtags, like #nodrama, got around 350 tweets. What is the conversion rate from the total amount of viewers (over 100 million) to 350 tweets?

Stats like this lead me to the theory that Super Bowl ad hashtags are not meant to be used. I mean if they are, great, but if they aren’t, who cares. It’s more important for hashtags to be on the ad so the agency and brand look like they are in the social TV game. In advertising, perception may be more than half the battle.

If the main goal for the ad hashtag is not use, it takes on a new meaning as part of the branding rather than a throw to your smartphone. They act as a sub tagline stamped with a pop-culture punctuation. In this context, I quite like them.

Here’s why hashtags on ads are not widely used by viewers — ads are conceptual and hashtags are very specific. From what I gather, ads raise awareness, invoke emotions and create desire. Then, the endframe subtly attaches this feeling to a brand. If this job is done well, the conversation will flow. Yes, it’s not all neatly tagged for marketers to track but that is ok. Twitter keyword searches work too.

Social media is chaotic. It’s fragmented, lightening-fast and uncontrollable. Better to watch and listen so that you can contribute great real-time content (for example, the Oreo “dunk in the dark,” image). This was a good reaction rather than a prescribed path, and that is social.

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