#TweetingWithMittens: Five real-time marketing moments of #SocialBowl2014

Dan Pankraz
By Dan Pankraz | 4 February 2014
Iris Worldwide regional planning director (APAC) Dan Pankraz.

Delivering social content at speed is the name of the game when it comes to tapping into big cultural events like the Super Bowl. We call it Urgent Genius.

American marketers are now more obsessed with news jacking and creating their own 'Oreo moment' than paying big bucks for a Super Bowl halftime ad. The battle is on to own the second-screen experience. It’s more #SocialBowl than #SuperBowl with over 200,000 tweets a minute during the halftime show.

As marketing teams and community managers were primed with their social media war rooms geared up with copywriters, art directors and designers all looking to release that single post that sparks mass conversation on their social channels, I thought I’d filter through the noise and pick out some of the real-time marketing highlights.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of Urgent, not a lot of Genus this year. There was no Oreo or Arby’s ‘hat’ moment sending the Twitterverse into meltdown. Interestingly, before kick off @Oreo posted that they were "going dark" this year, maybe they knew they couldn’t beat last year's effort?

Maybe the writing was on the cookie.

Here are my top five real-time marketing moments of Super Bowl 2014:

1. Brand banter: @JCPenney #TweetingWithMittens vs Twitterverse

This year brands spent more time tweeting each other and commenting on their ads and Twitter fails than integrating their own product into the conversation. @JCPenney posted a handful of incoherent tweets with spelling errors, which was instantly picked up by brands like @CoorsLight. Their tweet was retweeted over 6,000 times:

A host of brands like @PizzaHut, @Snickers all went to town on them benefitting from their Twitter fail. Eventually the @JCPenney social team picked up the errors and apologised with a #TweetingWithMittens excuse. Damage was done. Make sure your community managers can spell, or don’t Tweet and drink.

2. Live in stadium photo bomb: #HumanDoritosChip!

With hundreds of millions of fans watching the game live, Doritos dressed up 50 odd fans in orange in the shape of a Dorito, photo bombing the kickoff. They filmed it, tweeted it was up on YouTube claiming a world record. The fans had to prove their love of Doritos for the free ticket. A fleeting branding moment, well played.

3. #Esurance30 surprise and delight Twitter mega-promotion

@Esurance saved $1.5 million by running their ad after the game – although I reckon half of the audience would have switched to Downton Abbey at halftime given the one-sided nature of the game. They decided to give away the cash they saved to a random Tweeter who used the hashtag #Esurance30 during the game. Nothing beats unexpected cash promos on Twitter and #Esurance30 was the leading Twitter trending topic, but it cost them $1.5 million.

4. @HillaryClinton proves quick wit always wins    

Perhaps the tweet of the Super Bowl was from @HillaryClinton whose quick-witted tweet, "It's so much more fun to watch Fox when it’s someone else being blitzed & sacked!", was retweeted over 41,000 times within 10 minutes of posting.

Little-known pizza brand @DiGiornoPizza also got in on the action with their "YO, THIS GAME IS LIKE A DIGIORNO PIZZA BECAUSE IT WAS DONE AFTER TWENTY MINUTES #SuperBowI #SuperSmack" getting almost 13,000 retweets. Great example of simple but smart messaging.

5. @SmartcarUSA take off @RealJoeNamath fur coat meme

The Twitterverse got its Pharell hat fashion moment when Broadway star Joe Namath wore a ridiculous fur coat to the coin toss. @SmartCarUSA quickly jumped on the @RealJoeNamath fur coat meme with a ‘who wore it better’ tweet here.

So another Super Bowl done, a lot of Urgent activity, but only a few bits of Genius. There was lots of brands tapping into fashion faux failures, the poor performance of the Denver team but no truly brilliant social ideas.

Given the game was over just after halftime with Seattle leading 29-0, spare a thought for those brands who paid millions for third- and fourth-quarter TV spots.

Dan Pankraz
Regional Planning Director, APAC
Iris Worldwide

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