Before the game even started, Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial gained heavy attention on social media due to its controversial immigration and diversity-related theme. The ad dominated conversation compared to other Anheuser-Busch brands like Busch Beer and Bud Light in terms of conversation volume. Although pregame conversation sentiment was generally positive, some negative sentiment (6 percent) resulted from users tweeting with #BoycottBudweiser.
With over 40,000 posts from 6 p.m. to midnight, Budweiser’s ad was still one of the most popularly discussed Super Bowl commercials of the year. Although conversation was active in the hours leading to the game, it spiked between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. after the commercial aired. One of the top mentions during this conversation was @RealDonaldTrump, as celebrity Alyssa Milano and other users acknowledged widespread opposition to the President’s policies in not only Budweiser’s ad, but also in commercials from Coca-Cola, AirBnB and Audi. Negative sentiment surrounding the commercial remained at 6 percent during the game, however positive sentiment increased by 28 percent.
In contrast, Busch Beer’s Super Bowl commercial stimulated way less conversation with less than 3,000 posts during the game. There was a spike in conversation after the ad aired between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., but it died shortly after. Much of the social media attention after the Bush commercial stemmed from retweets of supportive posts by driver Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing, a NASCAR team sponsored by Busch. Although positive sentiment did for the commercial did increase by 27 percent during the game, negative sentiment also increased. Due to conversation about the quality of both the commercial and Busch Beer itself, negative sentiment doubled to 16 percent, which is 10 percent higher than negative sentiment for the controversial Budweiser ad.