Mullen tells you which Super Bowl ads work

If you want to learn if a $3 million pop on a :30 second spot while overweight men wrestle in spandex is worth it, social media can explain the reaction. Last year, for instance, Teleflora won the Super Bowl. The flower delivery service had a 14-fold lift in online mentions on Twitter after its ads ran during the big game, while chatter about many other brands that advertised went down.

This weekend, ad shop Mullen and social media monitoring service Radian6 will expose buzz to the world with a web site tracking which brands get the most chatter after their Super Bowl ads run. Mullen creative chief Edward Boches explains it wasn’t easy:

“We’ve studied lists of spots and scoured the web for any information that would help – celebrities appearing in spots for example – and then created combinations of words to increase the likelihood we don’t grab anything that isn’t a comment about a commercial. In addition we’ll monitor the game throughout, modifying keywords based on the storylines in the commercials.”

There are now scores of services that watch social media buzz, usually focused on quantity of chatter and “sentiment,” or whether the talk skews toward love or hate. On the plus side, it’s cheap consumer research; on the down, it remains to be seen if short spikes in consumer interest — such as the waves of response in social media that typically crest and fade within two weeks — really influence sales. Ken Burbary, digital strategist at Ernst & Young, has compiled a comprehensive list here, and many of the tools are free. It may be worth seeing how your brand scores among the public, too.

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