Twitter will host its first-ever #BrandBowl to honor top Super Bowl campaigns

Unlike Boston sports fans, Twitter needs a win. The company has suffered four consecutive quarters of ad revenue declines and the recent loss of its top revenue boss. So it’s turning to the Super Bowl to put some points on the board and money in its coffers.

This year, Twitter will host its first-ever #BrandBowl to commemorate the brands that “won” the Super Bowl in an attempt to highlight the social network’s ability to score attention for brands during major events. In addition to producing its own Moments showcasing the commercials getting attention on TV during the game, after the game, Twitter will award the brands that got the most attention on its social network.

“It’s smart for Twitter to formalize their involvement in the Super Bowl and almost put a stake in the ground as the place where the volume of Super Bowl discussion around advertising happens,” said Deep Focus CEO Ken Kraemer.

To fuel that discussion, Twitter will publish Moments after each quarter that will recap the ads that aired during that period of the game. People can sign up to be notified when these Moments are published by retweeting a tweet from @TwitterMKTG.

Then after (hopefully) the Eagles or (probably) the Patriots have won the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy, Twitter will announce who won its #BrandBowl via a separate Moment. Twitter will not be selling ads to run within any of the #BrandBowl52 Moments, according to a company spokesperson.

#BrandBowl rules

For a brand to participate in #BrandBowl52, it must tweet from its brand account during the game, and for three of the four main awards, the brand must be running a national TV spot during the Super Bowl that airs between the pre-game coin toss and the final whistle, according to the Twitter spokesperson. Brands must enroll through their Twitter sales reps before the day of the game, and brands without a sales rep at Twitter will not be able to participate.

A team of Twitter’s data scientists will track brand-related tweets during the game, and only tweets published between the pre-game coin toss and the final whistle that ends the game will count toward the competition. Brand-related tweets will include tweets that mention the brand’s Twitter handle or hashtag corresponding to its commercial, as well as other terms that people may include when referring to the ad, such as the celebrities that star in it, its plot, its jokes and more, according to the spokesperson. Retweets will also count, but likes will not.

Award categories

Twitter will announce winners in four main categories:

  • #MVP: Awarded to the brand that received the highest percentage of brand-related tweets.
  • #Blitz: Awarded to the brand that generated the most tweets per minute.
  • #Quarterback: Awarded to the brand that received the most retweets on a single tweet.
  • #Interception: Awarded to the brand that did not run a national TV spot during the game but received the highest percentage of brand-related tweets.

Brands will not be able to win more than one of the aforementioned categories. If two brands tie in a given category, Twitter will hand the win to the brand whose ad’s hashtag received the most mentions, per the spokesperson.

In addition to these cross-brand categories, Twitter will award honorary mentions to the brands that received the highest share of in-game, brand-related conversation in 10 verticals: alcoholic beverages, automotive, consumer packaged goods, dining, entertainment, financial services, home and health care, retail, technology and telecommunications and travel.

Winning brands will receive exclusive access to undisclosed Twitter ad products and custom consumer research for their future Twitter campaigns, as well as actual trophies for the brand and its creative and media agencies.

A win for Twitter?

But will trophies be enough for Twitter to win over advertisers that are slowing their spend on its ads?

While Kraemer said he would be “hard-pressed to name a marketer who would change their investment strategy based on a platform award, that would change how they’re spending their media dollars based on that,” he could see #BrandBowl changing the mind of a brand that had planned to sit out Super Bowl Sunday on Twitter.

“I know specifically marketers that care about these kinds of KPIs [key performance indicators], like how many people commented on Twitter and did I win the Super Bowl based on Twitter. It’s mainly an internal measure of success,” Kraemer said.

About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.