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Pepsi products at the Super Bowl are starting to lose their pop on Facebook

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Consumer

Is this a Pepsi ($NYSE:PEP) problem, a Super Bowl problem - or is it a Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) problem? 

Because the argument for major US consumer products spending millions to get a word in edgewise with America on Super Bowl Sunday is starting to get weaker, based on Facebook Talking About Count, as it applies to one of the biggest brands to advertise on-screen for the National Football League's biggest event. 

Our first chart tracks Pepsi's Facebook Talking About Count. Three out of five of the biggest spikes on the timeline, correlate precisely to the date of the Super Bowl on that given year and continue to rise in the days after the game, as fans continue to talk about the top ads and brands on social media (we have reliable metrics for most consumer products brands, over the last three Super Bowls dating back to 2017).

In 2017, Pepsi's social stats were also aided by the fact it was the halftime show's sponsor, and the social stats certainly reflect it, since that was the soda maker's top chatter spike. In 2018, Pepsi rolled out a star-studded Americana-ad, once again, earned plenty of fans' attention. By the time 2019's Super Bowl rolled around, Pepsi's Super Bowl ad was just OK. And, the Facebook Talking About Count really backs up that last data point. 

Doritos, a Pepsi subsidiary, didn't have its best Super Bowl response in 2017 with its fetching dog ad - which generated a comparatively small bump on social media compared to its January Facebook engagement (above). The dog (and the dude) were gone next year - and ever since celebs have been doing more to drive Doritos' engagement. 

Doritos' high on Facebook came in 2018 and was fueled by Game of Thrones' lead Peter Dinklage "rapping" Busta Rhymes' lyrics and noshing down some Doritos Blaze chips, which represents the largest peak on our chart above. Last year's Chance the Rapper-Backstreet remix delivered a bit less on Facebook, for Doritos. 

Taken in sum, the data may not be too encouraging for Pepsi investors or executives, given that prices of placing an ad at the Super Bowl costs around $5 million. But, they may be able to take solace in the fact that social networks have continued to proliferate, and that a lack of Facebook chatter could simply mean they're getting more attention on nascent networks, like TikTok. On the other hand - there's still just about no buzz, like Super Bowl buzz, based on Facebook's data. 

And, of course, we can all take solace in the fact that this year, Tom Brady is watching the Super Bowl just like an ordinary American. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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