The social Battle of the Brits


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The Brit Awards has never quite had the wow factor of its US music award counterpart The Grammys. Madonna’s gyrating comeback, Kim Kardashian sparkling in something glamorous and revealing, and Kanye West’s burgundy velour tracksuit and performing in his anticipated adidas Yeezys were all highlights of the Grammys 2015.

In comparison, expectations of the Brits were so low; they had barely made it off the floor. In the three weeks leading up to the event, excitement around the awards ceremony on Twitter had only reached 58k mentions (compared to 1.7 million for The Grammys in the same time period) and 32% of these conversations were retweets. A confirmed line-up of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith meant things were perhaps looking a little beige.

But it was alright on the night. Kanye West was there, Kim did make an appearance and Madonna made sure that her return to the Brits after 20 years would not be forgotten. On the night, mentions of the event soared above two million and the British viewers were rewarded with an array of meme-worthy moments.

The Brits: social conversation  

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The surprise appearance of Kim Kardashian certainly helped, as viewers embraced her selfie-taking (800 mentions) and celebrated her introduction of her husband Kanye West.

A selfie with Kim Kardashian is clearly a lifetime aspiration for many, as her self portrait with Ant and Dec resulted in 103 uses of #lifegoals. Later Kim was snapped in the audience dancing with her husband, and the hashtag #relationshipgoals received 200 mentions.

When Kanye literally exploded onto the stage with his All Day performance, it wasn’t only Taylor Swift and Lionel Richie who were left open-mouthed.

Conversations around Kanye and his performance reached 125k, with 30% of the Tweeting audience questioning the decision to mute the majority of his explicit performance.

The hashtag #allday (the song name) was quickly adopted during the performance (24k mentions) and its usage was mainly positive as his fans scrambled to find an un-muted version of the performance.

However, the muting also caused confusion amongst the wider audience, who, perhaps distracted by Taylor Swift’s dancing, misheard Kanye’s lyrics and were surprised to hear that his new song was about Aldi (712 mentions). Who knew the rapper was such a fan of discounted German goods?

A spectacular such as Kanye’s, gobsmacking the nation and providing the globe with a host of new Taylor-Swift-dancing GIFs could have been the Brits 2015 success story had it not been for Queen Madge and her cloaked comeback.Within two minutes, Twitter exploded as Madonna’s fall shocked the nation.

#shefellover, #capegate and #alloallo gained 4.4k mentions between them and memes of Edna from The Incredibles, insurance claims and questions over what would happen to the poor dancer responsible for the fall quickly escalated across the internet.

However, Madonna was able to truly cement herself as the Queen of Pop amongst viewers and she was celebrated across Twitter, with 12k mentions applauding her graceful recovery. As a result, Madonna’s return to the Brits stole the show, dwarfing Kanye West and even allowing Her Madgesty to publicly blame Armani for her fall.

Of course, as with any major event a few brands were keen to join the conversation too. Haircare brand VO5 used Twitter’s native video service, which launched at the end of last month to run two standalone ads on Twitter’s new video player.

Nandos made the most of an impromptu Kanye West visit before the show and Innocent captured the general vibe of the night using emojis. But brand conversations hardly set the Twittersphere on fire – Royal Baby, this was not.

However, it was good news for headline sponsor Mastercard, receiving 4.2k mentions in association with the Brits last night – perhaps because of the lack of major competition from other brands. The most retweeted (non-celeb) tweet of the evening, apart from the official Brits account, was one of its own, congratulating Ed Sheeran.

At The Grammys, where Mastercard shared the main sponsor status with a number of other brands, there were only 3.7k mentions in association with the event – low considering that overall that night, there were over six million Grammys mentions.

So what’s the verdict? Better than we might have hoped for, thanks to a few unexpected events and it looks like Mastercard got some bang for their sponsorship buck when it comes to social. But the Brits still have some more work to do to build up the hype around the event, and make it really hit home with a social audience.