According to data from Tubular Labs, the most-watched Super Bowl-related YouTube video wasn’t a clip from the game or a commercial — it was Pepsi’s full halftime show featuring The Weeknd. Uploaded the night of Feb. 7 to the NFL’s YouTube channel, it’s received 22.3 million views so far, with 19.2 million views occurring within the first two days, per Tubular’s analytics. By comparison, the 2020 halftime show with Shakira and J. Lo had received 77.7 million YouTube views within the first two days.
The show itself was a departure from traditional halftime celebrations, which usually happen on the field swarmed with fans (ahh, the old days before “social distancing” became an everyday phrase). Instead, The Weeknd took over part of the stands for what some considered a bizarre compilation — with sound-mixing issues and an inside funhouse jaunt that inspired a few already memed-to-death moments — before dancing across the field with (creepily) masked dancers for a “Blinding Lights” finale.
While this year’s show may not measure up to 2020’s (at least in terms of YouTube views), the video has received 10 million more views than the No. 2 Super Bowl-related video on YouTube, Budweiser’s “Bigger Picture,” which explains why the brand didn’t air an ad during the game. It landed on YouTube on Jan. 25, and has generated 12.2 million views, with over half occurring within a week of posting, according to Tubular. Unlike most of the in-game commercials, which avoid references to the pandemic, this video shares how the brand redirected its advertising budget to support COVID-19 education, including around vaccines.
Below is a look at the top ten Super Bowl-related videos on YouTube. A few things worth noting: The NFL owns two of them (first and third), and the No. 4 video didn’t actually air during the game itself (it ran once during the pregame show). Aside from Budweiser’s “Bigger Picture” and a halftime show teaser from Pepsi, the rest in the ranking are either official Super Bowl ads or teasers.
- NFL: The Weeknd’s FULL Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show (22.3 million YouTube video views)
- Budweiser: Bigger Picture | Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial (12.2 million)
- NFL: Chiefs vs. Buccaneers | Super Bowl LV Game Highlights (9.2 million)
- FilmSelect Trailer: FAST AND FURIOUS 9 Super Bowl Trailer (2021) (10 million)
- Doritos: Doritos 3D | Flat Matthew Super Bowl LV (8.8 million)
- Paramount+: Paramount+ Expedition | Sweet Victory | Super Bowl LV Spot (7.9 million)
- Cheetos: Cheetos | It Wasn’t Me SUPER BOWL LV :15 (7.4 million)
- Pepsi: Get Ready :10 | Super Bowl LV | Pepsi Halftime Show (6.7 million)
- Paramount+: Paramount+ Expedition | Sweet Victory | Super Bowl LV Spot (6.5 million; a shorter version of the No. 6 video)
- Frito-Lay: ‘Twas the Night Before Super Bowl | Frito-Lay 2:00 (6 million)