T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) was the top wireless advertiser during the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, leveraging celebrities Drake and Steve Harvey to generate an estimated 100 million social impressions.
The nation's third-largest mobile operator was the third-most effective overall advertiser during the big game, claiming 11 percent of all advertisers' "earned digital response" from 7.9 million views on game day alone. T-Mobile's "Drop the Balls" commercial featuring a play on Harvey's noted Miss Universe gaff generated 4.3 million online views on Sunday, second among all advertisers only to a Budweiser ad. And T-Mobile's Drake spot "Restricted Bling" drove 570,000 social actions.
T-Mobile spent nearly $14.8 million to air two spots during the game, generating 6.8 million Facebook views, more than 8 million overall online views and 131 million TV impressions. No other carrier was among the top 60 advertisers.
No smartphone vendors were listed as top advertisers either, although Fitbit spent $4.9 million to air a single commercial.
Interestingly, Verizon was largely silent during this year's game but was the biggest-spending advertiser from any industry during the 2015-2016 NFL season. The largest U.S. mobile carrier spent more than $133 million on TV commercials during NFL games during the season, topping Ford ($106 million) and Toyota ($94 million). Samsung Mobile spent $94.5 million during the NFL year, ranking eighth among advertisers.
Wireless service providers spent $265.6 million on TV ads during NFL games this season, third only to auto makers and fast food chains. Mobile device vendors spent $175.3 million, ranking eighth among vertical markets.
- see this iSpot.tv page
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Article was updated at 3:30 p.m. ET to clarify that T-Mobile ran two spots rather than four.