February 04, 2013

Social Media Marketing Lessons from the Big Game

Last night must have been one of the most interesting Superbowl games to date: several new records were set, many heartwarming and hilarious commercials, the rise of a new football megastar, and a surprise reunion of Destiny's Child. Still, the part of the night that may be most likely to live on for generations is to come is the infamous blackout. At that point, several companies had already made an impact with creative advertisements that got people talking. Still, the prize of the night may not belong to one of those $3.8 million commercials, but to a few moments of good timing and ingenuity from brands making use of free social media.

When the power went out, some ads went into repeat, and everyone seemed to turn to social media, brands like Oreo, PBS, Walgreens, and Tide made a powerful impact by moving quickly to tweet creative messages that tied the blackout in with their marketing:


Oreo had already aired an ad earlier in the game that went over well on Twitter and quickly became a trending topic. Still, it was this Tweet that they actually sent out not long after the blackout started that was featured on Good Morning America today and got a remarkable 15,119 retweets. 

Walgreens didn't need an advertisement to get some publicity from the game with this clever comment that got people laughing. 

Tide did a great job tying in their well-received and memorable stain advertisement with a message directly related to the blackout. Finally, PBS used the restlessness of viewers waiting for the lights to come back on as smart opportunity to promote their own TV show, Downtown Abbey, which was on air when the blackout happened.  

So what are the lessons from these well-timed blackout tweets?
  • Take advantage of the fact that social media lets you talk to people and react to events in real time by engaging in what people are saying right now (as long as you can find a way to make it relevant to your brand's message and image).
  • Be willing to think and react quickly, not all great marketing ideas require a full-fledged plan. 
  • Be creative, yet personal. While advertising works well with larger-than-life ideas, personalities, and humor, these tweets succeeded because they were sincere and not all that different from the types of tweets your friends were sending during the blackout. 
  • Be spontaneous. The best social media policies allow for you or your company to move quickly without the hinderance of red tape. 
  • Make it a conversation. Tide did a great job tying their advertisement in with their clever tweet. Similarly, if you use both social media and traditional marketing techniques, try to connect the messages and and start a conversation about it.  
  • Creativity can be more powerful than budget.