The 2014 Super Bowl Ads Preview: Have The Budweiser Puppy & Hashtags Already Won The Big Game?

Budweiser "Puppy Love" 2014 Super Bowl Commercial, courtesy of Anheuser-Busch

Tomorrow, we’re geared up for our annual Hashtag Bowl, a count of social media mentions in Super Bowl ads as well as a look at the ads themselves. But after reviewing the record-breaking number of Super Bowl ads already placed online, the Budweiser #BestBuds puppy ad and hashtags in general are big hits. Will that hold true for game day?

For Super Bowl 2014, we’ll be looking at all the ads airing during the game (from kickoff, though we might start early this year and go from the coin-toss). For each ad, we’ll look to see how many mentions Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and so on get, such as with a logo or URL. We’ll also look to see how many carry a hashtag.

Record-Number Of Super Bowl Ads Online Before Game

We’ll get back to social media mentions and hashtag usage at the end of this story. But first, how about the ads themselves? Currently, there are 30 official 2014 Super Bowl ads online, from our tracking.

I’m pretty sure that’s the most Super Bowl ads ever placed online before the Super Bowl itself, so in lieu of being to find any confirmation of that, I’m declaring it true myself. For perspective, a typical Super Bowl will have from 50 to 60 national ad spots that run. This means about 50% to 60% of those are already online.

Budweiser’s Puppy Ad The Biggest Hit

If YouTube views are an indicator of who’s winning best with consumers, hand the trophy over to Budweiser and its #BestBuds ad that features a little puppy that keeps running back to be with the famous Clydesdale horses. It currently has 30 million views, about triple the closest competitor:

The puppy even has its own twitter account now, as our previous story explains: The Budweiser #BestBuds Puppy Gets His Own Twitter Account.

Also Popular From Budweiser, A Soldier’s Return

Budweiser also has the ninth-most viewed ad on YouTube right now, a real-life story of a US soldier returning home, coming up on 4 million views:

Hyundai’s “Nice Ride” In Second

Coming in second place behind Budweiser is Hyundai’s “Nice Ride” spot that features Big Bang Theory actor Johnny Galecki, which has 11 million views:

“Banned” SodaStream With Scarlett Johansson In Third

You may have heard that SodaStream’s ad was “banned” or “censored” from the Super Bowl. SodaStream will be part of the line-up. But the Super Bowl has required that it drop a part of the ad that takes a slam at two other Super Bowl advertisers, Coke and Pepsi, as AdWeek covers. Well, by slam, a part at the end where actress Scarlett Johansson, who stars in the ad, says “Sorry Coke & Pepsi.”

The attention this has brought, as well as some real controversy of Johansson leaving her ambassador post with Oxfam because of SodaStream having a factory in an area where there’s dispute between Israel and Palestine, probably has helped the spot reach third with 8 million views:

VW’s Wings At Fourth; Will It Repeat All-Time High?

Coming in at fourth is Volkswagen with its “Wings” ad, where engineers get an unexpected surprise every time a VW hits 100,000 miles. The ad has about seven million views so far:

VW currently holds the title for most shared Super Bowl ad, its 2011 “The Force” commercial, currently with nearly 60 million views:

Will the new ad gain that many views over time? Will it take the title as most-shared, as well? We’ll see. Meanwhile, VW is geared up for game day. See our story about its Super Bowl plans:

VW is also currently the advertiser doing the most ads on Google and Bing, recently edging out leader Bud Light. See our separate story on that:

In Fifth, It’s Good To Be Bad For Jaguar

Jaguar is running its first-ever Super Bowl ad, loud-and-proud that it’s always Brits who play villains in movies. Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong all explain why, including, “We all drive Jaguars” (said with the proper British pronunciation of “Jag-you-ars”). Coming up on 6 million views, at fifth place, it seems to be a hit:

All The Super Bowl 2014 Ads & Honorable Mentions

I won’t embed all the other spots. There are just too many. But there is an easy way for you to watch them quickly. We’ve made a special playlist of all the official Super Bowl 2014 ads already posted online. Play one, and the next will load. Or click on the list icon in the top left to go directly to the one you want:

Here are all those mentioned above along with a the most viewed beyond them, that you might want to check out. All YouTube views are current as of the time of this article (some new ads will be added after this publishes and view counts obviously will change):

  1. Budweiser, “Puppy Love,” 30 million
  2. Hyundai, “Nice Ride,” 11 million
  3. SodaStream, “Sorry,” 8.1 million
  4. VW, “Wings,” 6.8 million
  5. Jaguar, “Rendezvous,” 5.5 million
  6. Axe, “Make Love Not War,” currently 4.4 million
  7. Toyota, “Terry Crews & The Muppets,” 4.3 million
  8. Chevy, “Romance,” currently 4.3 million
  9. Budweiser, “A Hero’s Welcome,” 3.5 million
  10. Dannon, “The Spill,” 3.2 million
  11. Cheerios, “Gracie,” 2.6 million
  12. Coca-Cola, “Going All The Way,” 2.0 million
  13. Kia, “Morpheus,” 1.9 million
  14. Squarespace, “A Better Web Awaits,” 1.4 million
  15. CarMax, “Slow Clap,” 1.0 million

And way down on the list, one I thought was pretty cute from Chobani, even if it has only 250,000 views:

Also worth a mention is an unofficial Super Bowl ad. Newcastle Brown Ale is running an entire online campaign about Super Bowl ads it won’t be making. One of these features actress Anna Kendrick, who has a funny bit about being surprised to be offered the part.

“I don’t think of myself as beer commercial babe hot. I mean, I’m hot … but beer commercial hot, not. But I love a challenge,” she muses, before giving her endorsement. “Newcastle Brown Ale. The only beer that ever promised me a high-paying role in a S**** B*** commercial and backed out at the last f****** second like a bunch of **** ****. Suck it. Suck it.” At 3.3 million views, it’s beating many of the official Super Bowl ads:

Big Win For Hashtags

So how about those social media mentions. Let’s review the history.

In 2012, only 25% of Super Bowl ads carried hashtags, and about the same had some type of social media mention.

In 2013, 50% of Super Bowl ads carried hashtags, and 58% had a social media mention overall; some ads didn’t have hashtags but carried social media logos.

Of the 30 ads online so far, 18 of them have hashtags — 60% — a new high.

As for social media networks being mentioned, in the past, Twitter did well in our survey because any hashtag use was also counted as a Twitter mention. That’s because for the most part, Twitter was the only major social network that supported hashtags. Yes, Instagram had them. So did Google+, but it was pretty clear most of the hashtags were aimed at people on Twitter.

That’s probably still the case for 2014, but since Facebook now also supports hashtags, and they have become more widespread in use on several social networks, a hashtag will no longer equal a Twitter mention.

Social Media Sites Barely Get Mentions

Given that, which social networks are winning? It’s probably better to say that most of them aren’t, because practically none of the ads carry social network logos, though Facebook has the slight edge over others. Here’s the current rundown:

  • Hashtags, 30 uses, 60% of ads
  • Facebook, 5 mentions, 17% of ads
  • Twitter, 4 mentions, 13% of ads
  • YouTube, 4 mentions, 13% of ads
  • Google+, 2 mentions, 7% of ads
  • Instagram, 2 mentions, 7% of ads

If it weren’t for Hyundai, the mentions would be even lower. Hyundai has two ads and uses logos in both of them, helping get the figures into at least double-digits for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube:

Oddly, only one of the Hyundai ads — Nice Ride — carries a hashtag. The other doesn’t.

The winner of most inclusive ad for social networks is T-Mobile. It also has two ads and lists several social networks in each of them:

And for most unexpected, Beats Music skips the social networks and goes for using app store logos for Apple, Google and Windows Phone, though so small that they’re hard to see:

beats music

And The Winner For Hashtags Goes To…

So what are the hashtags linked with these commercials? Here are the ones we’ve gathered, listed in order of YouTube video view popularity, at the moment:

  1. Budweiser, Puppy Love: #BestBuds
  2. Hyundai, Nice Ride: #NiceHashtag
  3. VW, Wings: #VW
  4. Jaguar, Rendezvous: #GoodToBeBad
  5. Axe, Make Love, Not War: #KissForPeace
  6. Chevy, Romance: #SilveradoStrong
  7. Budweiser, A Hero’s Welcome: #salute (a Hero)
  8. Coca-Cola, Going All The Way, #AmericaIsBeautiful
  9. GoDaddy, Bodybuilder: #ItsGoTime
  10. TMobile, Tim Tebow: #nocontract
  11. Noah, Noah: #TheFloodIsComing
  12. Audi, Doberhuahua: #StayUncompromised
  13. Beats, Ellen, #beatsmusic
  14. Chobani, Bear, #HowMatters
  15. TMobile, Tim Tebow, #nocontract
  16. Bud Light, Equalizer, #MakeItPlantinum
  17. Draft Day, Draft Day, #DraftDayMovie
  18. Heinz, If You’re Happy & You Know It, #ifyourehappy

Who’s winning with the hashtags? One measure is to look at Topsy and the trends it shows for usage (click to enlarge):

That chart shows three most popular hashtags used by volume, from the list above, over the past month. #Salute, with 326,445 mentions, is far away the winner, followed by #BestBuds at 36,600 and #BeatsMusic at 27,777.

However, the chart also makes it pretty clear there was plenty of #salute usage before the Budweiser ad, and a quick check on Twitter shows that many of these have nothing to do with the Super Bowl spot:

In contrast, look at how the chart spikes for #BestBuds and #BeatsMusic toward the end of the month. Those seem more connected to the Super Bowl ads using the hashtags — at least for #BestBuds. The #BeatsMusic spike happened about a week before the Super Bowl ad went up, likely tied to the launch of Beats Music itself.

If you’re really trying to understand which hashtags are proving popular specifically off the back of these Super Bowl campaigns, you have to look more closely at spikes starting right after the Super Bowl ads went online. Having done that, here are the leaders:

Doing that, #BestBuds is ahead with 36,600 mentions but dropping, as is the case for third place #GoodToBeBad from Jaguar at 18,504. Climbing from second place is #KissForPeace from Axe, perhaps helped by ads that Axe is buying on Twitter (it’s a poster child of Twitter’s Super Bowl ad efforts in a WSJ article today).

Here’s an example of one currently showing as promoted to me, when I search for #KissForPeace:

I don’t see one for #BestBuds, but I do see one for #GoodToBeBad:

It Can All Change On Game Day

There are still plenty of Super Bowl ads to come on the game day itself. More of those may use hashtags and social media mentions; some using them online now might not. New ads will be posted to YouTube, and view popularity will change. Another Oreo-like newsjacking event might happen, where brands not actually advertising in the Super Bowl might be seen as “winning” it on the back of a clever tweet. See also how Arby’s won The Grammys and the story behind that, where a smart social media manager for Arby’s did it, no “war room” required.

So consider what’s above a taste of what’s to come, not the final score. For that, be sure to tune-in here at Marketing Land for our Hashtag Bowl. We’ll have the counts, a live blog with ad and social media experts about the commercials and most important, follow-up coverage about calls-to-action and how successful these campaigns are, post-game.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Features: The #Hashtag Bowl | Super Bowl | Top News


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Minaz Abdulla

    To easily track ANY set of hashtags in a nice visual dashboard, also check out the hashtag analytics tool developed by

  • edkuryluk

    Now that the news surrounding the commercials is as big, or bigger than the game itself, Newcastle has already won the newsjacking award. Brilliant.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!