Taylor Swift Versus the Super Bowl: This Week in the Creator Economy (HBBIP #5)

Alex Rawitz
Alex Rawitz
Oct 20, 2023

Each week, we'll be bringing you select insights from our newsletter, How to Build Brands and Influence People (HBBIP). To have all of these insights delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe today

Like everyone else, I’ve been talking about Taylor Swift a lot recently. I know, I know. I’m sorry. When even Travis Kelce says that the NFL and the media at large is overdoing it, that’s probably a sign that we should all step back a bit.

Well, stepping back a bit can wait until after this blog post. CreatorIQ just got our data for September, which means that we can finally quantify the Taylor Swift Effect, rather than just hypothesizing about it.

In a previous edition of our newsletter, I said that if the Chiefs didn’t rank No. 1 in EMV in September, we’d have to retool our algorithm. Good news: the algorithm is working just fine.

Image 1

Yep, those are indeed your Kansas City Chiefs nearly doubling up the competition in September. Just look at that 420% month-over-month growth—that’s bound to get investigated by the league.

No points for guessing what might be the cause of all this hubbub: mentions of “Taylor Swift” accounted for $24.6M EMV, more than half of the Chiefs’ total. In fact, if posts that mentioned Taylor Swift and the Chiefs were their own football team, they would rank No. 2 on the September NFL leaderboard, between the New York Jets ($26.3M EMV) and the San Francisco 49ers ($22.2M EMV). This hypothetical team would also probably be able to beat the Denver Broncos.

Meanwhile, without any mentions of Taylor Swift, the Chiefs would have collected $21.1M EMV, and would have once again been narrowly defeated by the Detroit Lions.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

How much of an outlier is the Chiefs’ September performance? Put another way, what’s the true impact of Swiftmania? Take a look at the Chiefs’ monthly EMV totals from March to September:

Image 2

Okay, that’s pretty stark. The same trend holds true across other stats, too:

  • Engagement: the total number of likes, comments, and shares garnered by content about a brand.
    • The Chiefs achieved 55.3M Engagements in September.
  • Impressions: the number of times that content about a brand was viewed by the followers of its creator community.
    • The Chiefs achieved 623.3M Impressions in September.
  • Reach: the total follower count of the creators who mentioned your brand.
    • The Chiefs achieved 2.9B—yes, billion—Reach in September.

Let’s see what this looks like month by month—this time in bar charts, just to spice things up a bit.

Image 3

Image 4

Clearly, the check the NFL cut Taylor and Travis’ undying love is very valuable!

Now, astute readers of this blog post—which is all of you—might have noticed something: March is a bit of an odd month to begin this timeframe. It’s the start of the NFL offseason, and most NFL teams are bound to experience a boost in September anyway, once games start back up. Plus, wasn’t there something that the Chiefs did in February? Something important?

Oh right—they won the Super Bowl! That seems like a big deal. This sets up perhaps the most important and eternal question plaguing mankind: what drives more internet clout for an NFL franchise—winning the Super Bowl, or Taylor Swift? 

Today, that question is answered. Look away, Swifties!

Image 6

That’s a way more even breakdown: $12.7M EMV on TikTok in February, and $9.8M EMV on TikTok in September.

Related: Baseball, Birkenstock, & Barbie

Delving further, we find something interesting—look over here again, Swifties!

Image 9

That’s right: Taylor Swift drove more Engagement and Impressions for the Chiefs on TikTok than the Super Bowl. This stands to reason—while Gen Z isn’t necessarily uninterested in sports highlights, there’s a greater army out there on SwiftTok clamoring for content.

So there you have it: as a means of driving virality and hype for NFL teams on social media, the Super Bowl still reigns supreme, even if Taylor Swift is doing about as much as any single human being can do. But Taylor Swift does boast a notable advantage on TikTok, and garners more per-post engagement overall.

Alright, now I’m really done talking about this. At least until Taylor Swift shows up at the Super Bowl in February…

Putting the ‘News’ in ‘Newsletter’

We—by which I mean I—have spent the past week searching high and low for stories about key developments in the Creator Economy. You know, this being a newsletter and all. So what did I find?

Birkenstock Saves the Economy, Part II

Key Takeaways:

    • As previewed in a previous newsletter, it’s official: everyone’s favorite German sandal maker is going public.
    • Birkenstock raised $1.5B  in an initial public offering (IPO), valuing the company at $8.6B, or roughly 54.4M pairs of Boston Soft Footbeds in suede leather.
    • This represents one of the largest IPOs in recent memory, and could set off a wave of additional fashion IPOs—which we’d be sure to cover here, of course.

The CIQ Perspective:

    • We previously saw how Birkenstock’s EMV traced a clear, uninterrupted growth pattern from January to August. When we add on September data, we see a slight dip:

Image 10

    • Once again, this is not HBBIP guaranteeing that Birkenstock will have a successful IPO, or that other fashion companies will follow suit. But like we said last time: Birkenstock is sparking digital buzz, and EMV is once again serving as a leading indicator of financial performance.

Cirque du Soleil Gets in on the Influencer Game

Key Takeaways:

    • As reported by Ad Age, everyone’s favorite circus is building a custom creator program.
    • Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Artist Influencer Network’ aims to bring together the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s various franchises and a squad of 1.5k performers and technicians.
    • The goal? Unique sponsored content that expands Cirque du Soleil’s impact on social and fosters additional partnership and sponsorship opportunities for other brands.

The CIQ Perspective:

    • This development is music—or, uh, pyrotechnic acrobatics—to our ears. Cirque du Soleil is thinking outside the tent when it comes to brand development, and other entertainment companies should take note.
    • We’re not just saying this because Cirque du Soleil is a CreatorIQ customer (though that does help): regardless of whether you work with us or not, building a creator program is a necessity for contemporary brands across countless verticals.
    • If you’re a creator who dreams of running away and posting sponsored content for the circus, here’s your chance.

Mr. Beast 🤝Tom Brady

Key Takeaways:

    • First he came for the NBA—now he’s linking up with one of the NFL’s most famous stars (no, not Travis Kelce). YouTube sensation Mr. Beast sat down with Tom Brady on the latter’s podcast, Let’s Go!
    • The unlikely pair talked about their approaches to success, comparing notes on how preparation and endurance are the keys to playing football and, uh, crafting viral videos.

The CIQ Perspective:

    • As we reported previously, when Mr. Beast secured a sponsorship with the Charlotte Hornets, the world of sports is becoming further saturated with the world of influencers. By this point, despite his unconventional road to success, Mr. Beast has the pull and recognition of a mainstream celebrity.
    • We expect to see more media appearances by Mr. Beast in the near future, especially after the NBA season kicks off.
    • In the meantime, if Mr. Beast is looking for another podcast to guest-star on, might we suggest a little thing called Earned?

Conor’s Creator Facts

If there’s anyone on earth who lives, breathes, and truly believes in the Creator Economy, it’s Conor Begley: CreatorIQ’s Chief Strategy Officer, and a burgeoning creator in his own right. When he’s not planning the world’s greatest creator marketing summit, Conor shares his exclusive research on trending creator marketing stories with his followers on LinkedIn. But you can check out his latest findings right here:

L’Occitane Group = 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Out of 700 brands we track, L’Occitane owns the 3 fastest growing brands in our entire skincare index. *This momentum is particularly impressive given they acquired Elemis in 2019 for $900M, and Sol for $450M in 2021.

🇺🇸 US data and rankings below:

Elemis +132% EMV YoY for 2023

2021 - #26 ranked skincare brand US
2022 - #8
2023 - #3

Sol De Janeiro +144% EMV YoY for 2023

2021 - #38
2022 - #21
2023 - #6

L’Occitane +628% (?!) EMV YoY for 2023

2021 - #88
2022 - #74 
2023 - #14

Erborian +156% EMV YoY for 2023

2021 - #208
2022 - #194
2023 - #111

🤯 WILD!!

Image 11

🕵‍♂️ A few observations:

  1. RETENTION - They are doing a stellar job of retaining creators. Retention is the most predictive metric we have for growth, and is a strong signal of a well-run program focused on long-term relationships.

Reminder - 70% is good. 90% is stellar. 110%+ is other worldly.

Elemis - 141% Annual Retention
Sol De Janeiro - 109% Annual Retention
L’Occitane - 125% Annual Retention

  1. NEW ACQUISITION -  As good of a job as they are doing at retention, they might be doing an even better job at acquiring new creators. Across these three brands, they’ve acquired 10,578 creators and $117.3M in EMV from new creators in the last 12 months.

Elemis - 4,220 new creators and $44.3M in EMV 
Sol De Janeiro - 4,262 new creators and $40.5M in EMV 
L’Occitane - 2,096 new creators and $32.2M in EMV

  1. BY CHANNEL - They are growing everywhere. Instagram is still the dominant platform owning 65% of EMV share across the 4 brands, but Tiktok is roughly doubling YoY from 16% of EMV in 2022 to 30% in 2023.

Youtube EMV +71% YoY
Instagram EMV  +143% YoY
Tiktok EMV +427% YoY

Shout out to Tamera Ferro, Suzanne Pengelly, Clemence Duval, Vandana Tandon and their teams. SO SO SO impressive. Keep it up!

Wish I was a shareholder!

For more insights, be sure to follow Conor on LinkedIn. And to get all of these stories, plus much more, delivered to your inbox weekly, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter