Brand Strategy Pepsi Super Bowl

The NFL and Pepsi hype-machines dominate social media during Super Bowl LVI


By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

February 15, 2022 | 4 min read

Social media is the biggest arena for brands trying to generate buzz in the days leading up to the Big Game. And on gameday itself, fans take to social media to pontificate about which ads worked — and which ads fell flat. New insights from Hootsuite shed light on which brands received the most social media attention during Super Bowl LVI.


The NFL topped the list of the most-mentioned brands on social media during Super Bowl LVI

In the days leading up to Super Bowl LVI, the brands who had invested in a gameday ad took to social media to generate buzz and garner attention. On the day of the Big Game itself, social media was even more aflame as millions of viewers were exposed to the ads for the first time. Social media management platform Hootsuite kept its ear to the ground during this wave of gameday social media chatter. Its findings reveal which brands were able to generate the highest levels of engagement among viewers, and why they were able to stand out among the crowd.

Here are the highlights:

The NFL and Pepsi claimed the top spots (with 154,681 mentions and 103,697 mentions, respectively) on the day of the Big Game. The same was true last week, when excited pre-game buzz on social media was reaching its peak. The fact that these two brands have been the most-chatted-about in the days leading up to and following the Super Bowl is not surprising, considering that one is the organizer of the game itself and the other is the long-time host of the famed Halftime show, which this year included a number of memorable moments, including Eminem’s apparently impromptu kneel and 50 Cent hanging upside-down like a bat.

Cryptocurrency exchange company FTX was the third most viral brand during gameday after airing its 60-second ad featuring comedy legend, and everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Larry David. A number of crypto companies advertised during Sunday’s game, but there were many who were calling the FTX ad “one of their favorites from the Super Bowl,” according to Iain Beable, social media strategist EMEA at Hootsuite.

Coinbase also snuck into the top five with its much-talked-about ad, which featured a floating QR code reminiscent of the scene from “The Office” in which the entire cast raptly watched the meanderings of a DVD logo on a TV screen. The ad worked a little too well, leading the Coinbase site to crash. “​​The brand spent $16 million on an ad, and clearly, nothing on ensuring their website wasn’t going to crash,” says Trish Riswick, social engagement specialist at Hootsuite. “The ad received a lot of attention online but the top mention came from Edward Snowden.”

Travel company Expedia claimed the final spot in the list with 19,743 mentions. The company aired an ad with Ewen McGregor which, somewhat paradoxically, advertises a message of anti-consumerism. Experiences, the ad tells us, are what we’ll really remember and be grateful for down the road. Material goods, on the other hand, are ephemeral. A stark and thought-provoking message, considering the fact that the majority of Super Bowl ads are humanity’s best attempts to sell “stuff.” Little wonder then that it received so much attention on social media. It also didn’t hurt that the gears of the travel industry, frozen for so long in the grips of the pandemic, are finally starting to turn again, and also that McGregor has been receiving a lot of hype for his upcoming return as Obi Wan Kenobi.

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