#Winning the Ad Bowl: What Worked and What Didn’t

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Let’s start off this post by congratulating the New England Patriots on winning Super Bowl XLIX!

This win sparked many celebrations: another victory for the Pats and all of New England, the end to #DeflateGate, and most importantly—a Missy Elliot reprise.

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Now, onto what this blog post is about and what many Americans look forward to all year long—Super Bowl advertisements.

This year, 50% of all Super Bowl advertisements utilized some sort of hashtag in or at the end of their commercial.

We all know that hashtags are a popular and effective way for individuals and brands to reach wider audiences. However, the problem today is that many brands try to utilize hashtags simply for the sake of it, believing it’s proactive when it actually is not.

Hashtags must be strategic and well thought out—especially when trying to build and establish a brand on social media.

Let’s take a peek at a couple of the more notable Super Bowl XLIX ads that utilized hashtags this year…


#BestBuds by Budweiser

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The Budweiser #BestBuds commercial scored big by hitting all the elements of a perfectly executed commercial: the cute puppy, the epic Budweiser Clydesdale, and the friendship between the two All-American animals.

The hashtag embodied the entire message of the commercial—hanging out with buds! Overall, a #winning Super Bowl commercial!


#Empowering by Microsoft

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The Microsoft #Empowering commercial undoubtedly brought tears to viewers’ eyes, watching Braylon O’Neill live his life to the fullest with the assistance of prosthetics.

The use of technology to enhance and customize his prosthetics throughout his childhood was astounding, but #Empowering has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, the customer, the brand, or the products they have.

The word “empowering” is for the most part, too ambiguous. Microsoft can’t close a commercial with a blank screen and a hashtag stating #Empowering and simply expect the world to associate the word with them.

It’s just too bold—keep it attainable and relevant!


We want to know what you thought about the hashtags used in this year’s Super Bowl—before, during or after the commercials. Share what some of your favorite Super Bowl hashtags were – tweet us at @451Marketing!

Brendan VanDeventer

Brendan is an account manager on the Social Media team. Tweet at him @brendan451!

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