Free Big Game Buzz–Brands Newsjack the Blackout


Image from: blackout / Shutterstock

A number of brands owe their quick-thinking social media teams a raise for “newsjacking” the Big Game power outage. When the lights went out, viewers turned their attention to social media for the thirty-four minute game break. This was a perfect opportunity for brands to share a message with high impact and little cost.

PBS’s popular show Downton Abbey had to compete with the Big Game at nine o’clock. But, with the game on hold, they reminded followers to flip the channel.

Blackout PBS

Calvin Klein entertained its followers with a Vine video of an underwear model doing crunches.

Blackout Calvin Klein

The social team for Tide laundry detergent quickly produced this witty ad, playing off the blackout.

Blackout Tide
Walgreens poked fun at the situation and generated over 3,000 retweets.

Blackout Walgreens
Finally, The Oreo Cookie stole the show with their ad reminding everyone “You can still dunk in the dark”. The Superdome’s lights went out at approximately 8:38. Oreo created the photo in less than ten minutes, sharing it at 8:48. It has been retweeted over 15,000 times, liked on Facebook over 20,000 times and shared nearly 7,000 times.

Blackout Oreos
Twitter’s presence during the Super Bowl was more pervasive than ever before. The company reported that the game generated 24.1 million tweets. After paying the hefty price of $3.8 million for a thirty second TV slot, brands wanted to extend the life of their ads—and investment. According to Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter, this year seventy-five percent of all ads aired during the game linked to second screen experience. More specifically, 38% of the ads included a Twitter hashtag. Only 7% of ads included a hashtag during the 2012 Super Bowl.

These viral ads demonstrate the importance of real-time responses in today’s fast-moving digital world. These brands took advantage of a trending topic and used it as opportunity to show their own personality and humanize the product. Who knew laundry detergent and a drug store could be so entertaining? The spontaneity was very rare and refreshing in a world that relies on loads of data for every marketing decision.

We can expect further social integration in next year’s Big Game commercials. However, the bar has been set high. Every major brand will have their social team prepared and crossing their fingers crossed for another unexpected turn of events.

About Carro Halpin:
Carro is excited to join the Compete team as the Digital Marketing Co-op for, with a focus on all things social media. A third-year student at Northeastern University, Carro is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. She has a passion for digital media. Follow her on Twitter @carrohalpin or connect on Google+