Pepsi and Heinz were the winning brands at this year's Super Bowl, according to research conducted by data science company, Starcount. 

The famous brands were found to be topping the leaderboard at the world's glitziest sporting finale, in terms of the number of new fans attracted on Twitter.

Prior to the NFL, predictive insight company Starcount studied the Twitter fans of nine of the major brands that were advertising during the Super Bowl, including: Audi; AXE; Heinz; Honda; Hyundai; KFC; Pepsi; Skittles; and Snickers.

The brands chose varying styles and messages for their commercials, with tactics ranging from adorable hotdogs to bold celebrations of individuality.

In order to determine which brand strategy came out on top, Starcount analysed the new Twitter fans for each brand and found that Pepsi triumphed over the weekend with an impressive 6,297 new followers – more than double that of any of the other brands.

In the food and drinks industry, the next most popular adverts were KFC's new Colonel Sanders, and Skittles' Steven Tyler portrait.

Looking proportionally, however, the overall winner was Heinz, whose hotdogs, or wiener dogs, achieved an impressive growth of 5.36 per cent of the total following on Twitter. Despite the brand having only 12 per cent of the total number of followers of Snickers, Heinz's 'cute' advertising approach resulted in 263 more fans than Willem Dafoe for Snickers.

In the automotive industry, Audi proved the winner with their Bowie tribute, gaining 3,201 followers, while Honda pulled on both musical and animal themes with their singing sheep, thus growing their Twitter fans by 1,464. By contrast, Hyundai showed a weak performance, with only 689 new fans.

With the Super Bowl drawing nearly 112 million viewers this year, the game's audience provides a rare insight into society-wide trends. Indeed, the mass appeal of the NFL is reflected in the demographic breakdown of the audience, with the gender split almost equal between females and males (51.7 : 48.3) and an even dispersion across the age groups.

Looking beyond the brands advertised specifically to the brands that are most followed by the Super Bowl audience, the most important brand was Starbucks, which is followed by 18.3 per cent of the audience. The third-ranked brand was McDonalds, which is followed by 7.6 per cent of the audience.

Clive Humby, Chief Data Scientist at Starcount, commented:

"In the age of social media, Twitter is one of the most indicative ways of tracking a brand's fan base. Our research provides a unique way of measuring reputational results from major advertising spend – a most valuable tool for brands spending $5 million per 30 seconds for the Super Bowl half-time commercial space.

"Through this analysis of fan profiles and their engagement over time, Starcount is able to give brands a deeper understanding of their audience: an ability to view their other passions and to track reactions to agenda-setting events."

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