There were was 1.45 million Tweets around the official #Emmys hashtag between 7pm-midnight EST on September 19, according to marketing technology company Amobee. While most of this real-time chatter regarded winners Kate McKinnon (28.1K tweets), Tatiana Maslany (27.2K tweets) and Rami Malek (26.4K tweets), Cigna was the most popular advertiser with its celeb-centric spot.
The healthcare insurer aired an ad (created by McCann) about annual checkups with TV doctors Alan Alda, Lisa Edelstein, Donald Faison, Noah Wyle and Patrick Dempsey encouraging the audience to see a real doctor. There were 2.9K tweets mentioning TV Doctor and 3.2K tweets around the associated hashtag, #GoKnowControl between 7 pm-midnight. Plus, in the same time period, Twitter sentiment around TV Doctor was 91% positive and 9% neutral. This lop-sided affinity is rare, particularly around award show broadcasts. For instance, Twitter chatter about host Jimmy Kimmel attracted only 21% positive, 66% neutral, and 13% negative and the show itself garnered views that were 38% positive, 55% neutral, and 7% negative.
Still, this popularity wasn’t so much about what other advertisers did wrong as about what Cigna did right, says Jonathan Cohen, principal brand analyst at Amobee. "By collecting a group of actors famous for playing doctors; they created a buzz worthy moment that’s thematically relevant to the event and at the same time supports their core messaging that people should get their annual checkups.”
Other brands did see a lift from the Emmys, albeit with modest increases, per Amobee. There were 1K tweets mentioning both Uber and Jeb Bush thanks to the opening sketch of the show where the former presidential candidate played Jimmy Kimmel’s limo driver. And there were 443 tweets mentioning both Audi and the Emmys, aided by the fact that Audi was an official sponsor and had deep integration in the program. This awareness was fueled by a co-branded Audi and Airbnb ad and during the same opening with Bush when Jimmy Kimmel reenacted a parody of the famous O.J. Simpson chase replacing the iconic Bronco with an Audi.
"The Emmys aren’t the established showcase for brand ads that say the Super Bowl is but when an ad is thematically relevant to the event like the Cigna ad was it can still have a big impact," says Cohen.