Let’s Talk Ad Math, Vol. 1

By Jordan Teicher 

This column has been pinballing around my head for the past few months. I’m curious about hashtags. I’m under the impression that although everyone knows what a hashtag looks like, not many people pay attention to Twitter statistics beyond Follower counts. And now that every commercial – online or televised – comes with a hashtag, many of which seem perfunctory, I want to make an inexact science a bit more exact by evaluating basic Internet data and applying it to our coverage for the previous week.

Twitter clearly has value. Celebrities of varying degrees get paid silly amounts of money for sponsored tweets (sidebar: did you know that Melissa Joan Hart makes $9,100 for some of her tweets? That’s more obnoxious than silly). With money and brand equity to be had in the Twitter economy, every company can now slap a hashtag onto a visual ad and pretend to know what it’s doing. Remember when Newsweek ran with #MuslimRage? Or McDonald’s unintentionally eviscerating itself with #McDStories? Twitter can be tricky for the lazy and oblivious.


Moving forward, I’m mostly interested in three important factors: What are people saying about the latest ad campaign? How many people are talking about it? Who is doing the talking?

Am I qualified to discuss such topics? You can be the judge of that. I’m not Nate Silver, but most likely, neither are you. I write statistical and trend analysis for The Wall Street Journal sports section, and I want to add a bit of statistical analysis into our own more abstract content feed. Feel free to vilify me in the comments section. A healthy mob of readers views the site regularly, so if you think a topic or campaign deserves analytical coverage, please send me an email or tweet. If you want to say nice things, that’s always an option, too.

The Brothers Dim

Per Topsy, the Manning brothers DirecTV “Football on Your Phone” spot has won the Internet in less than three days. More than 14,300 users have engaged with the #footballonyourphone, and over 17,600 users have used the term without a hashtag. The Youtube clip on the DirecTV channel now has more than 5.5 million views.

I covered the spot on Wednesday as it was making the rounds online. It didn’t take long for the commercial to lead Sportscenter and delight everyone in the Giants locker room. The song also found its way to some celebrities who probably helped spread the goofy rhythm and blues. Tweets came from the good (Snoop Dogg), the bad (Mario Lopez), and the ugly (Pee-Wee Herman), among others.


Grey employees are probably finishing up on a 72-hour back-patting bender.

The Omnipresent Sudeikis

Big hair is everywhere. First, he was thrown into an ESPN countdown as an irrelevant cross-promoter. Then, Bob Marshall tried to explain to readers why the emergence of Jason Sudeikis was too much, too fast. Does anyone really want to see Meet The Millers?

In the past four days, Sudeikis has been mentioned 13,300 times on Twitter. Of course, he’s been a part of a half-dozen news items in that span, and he’s also receiving some paparazzi press for outkicking his coverage and landing Olivia Wilde, so the social buzz isn’t tied to one specific campaign. For example, his NBC spoof skit as a bumbling American soccer coach is only pulling in an estimated 11% of those mentions. However, it’s also worth noting that the 4:41 clip on YouTube has 3.1 million hits for the NBC Sports Network channel. People still like big hair.

Cuervo Crickets

I’ll wrap up the column with a dud. Cuervo recently came out with a typical alcoholic beverage campaign featuring Kiefer Sutherland as some sort of step-cousin to the Most Interesting Man in the World. The stats haven’t been rewarding thus far for McCann NY. In the past week, Kiefer Sutherland has approximately 1,400 Twitter mentions, Jose Cuervo has 5,800 (not all associated with the spot), and the ad’s #cuervostory has only 86 mentions and 32,000 views. Apart from being bland, there’s also this to worry about:


The brand seems to have already abandoned the catchphrase, instead opting for the way-too-long #WhatsAFestivalWithoutJoseCuervo? The unofficial statistical answer: Less likely to have vomit. Too bad I can’t check that on Topsy.