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Winners and Losers of the Super Bowl XLVIII Brand Bowl

Every year brands gear up for the Super Bowl, marketing’s biggest playground affectionately known as the “Brand Bowl”. Traditionally, commercials are the bread and butter of Super Bowl marketing but last year, Oreo’s real-time marketing win brought real-time social media marketing to the arena. Many of the best and most memorable moments for Super Bowl XLVIII brand bowl didn’t occur as television ads or halftime shows, but rather brands turning to Twitter followers and each other to create conversation and interest.

One of the biggest stories is Esurance owning trending topics through the entire game using a promotional tactic of giving away $1.5 million for a Re-Tweet in lieu of running a pricey commercial. Then they ran a post-game commercial highlighting the fact they saved $1.5 million by running in the later slot, therefore they were giving the money to a follower.

It was an interesting juxtaposition as ads ebbed and flowed on trending topics, yet Esurance remained. The brand also used its brand in a hashtag, providing tens of millions of impressions. Looking just at the overall investment, Esurance seems to have leveraged the total investment to provide the greatest ongoing social impact by linking message, promotion and branding across media types. Well played. In short, don’t just spend brand money on a commercial – invest in sponsored posts, hashtags, & a real-time war room.

Best Real-Time Marketing, or Real-Time Marketingish…

The laundry detergent brand responded to almost every commercial aired during the game with a Vine that tied Tide to the other brand. Tide then sponsored the posts, keeping it high in feeds and beating the system of paying to sponsor the game. In what appeared to be the fastest real-time marketing of the night was actually a carefully planned and very well executed strategy to hijack Super Bowl buzz. The brand preemptively created and loaded the Vine videos to be responsive to leaked brand commercials. Overall, very smart and very successful.  


Best Example of Ignoring Legal

DiGiorno talks to celebrities, tag brands, and seem to have a “go rogue” approach to owning the Super Bowl hashtag and the result is phenomenal. Even better, DiGiorno seemed to have a ton of fun.



Most Desperate

The night’s WTF moment happened when department store giant JC Penney decided to “Tweet with mittens” but the effect was questionable at best, offensive at worst. Most wondered if the Community Managers were deep into their beer helmets by the 1st quarter.


Maybe JCP was the innocent lamb that really didn’t see their Tweets the way everyone else did, but my money is on shock-value marketing. Bad form JCP.

Best Piggy Back

Coors Light, taking JC Penney to school.

.@JCPenney We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly. — Coors Light (@CoorsLight) February 3, 2014

Brand-appropriate, witty, timely. While most Coors Light tweets received low engagement throughout the night (28 Retweets, 17 Favorites), the JCP zinger received 7,157 Retweets and 5,833 Favorites.

JCP ultimately addressed what was quickly dubbed the “drunk tweeting” fiasco with this tweet:

If you have to explain it, you failed.

Best Brand Bromance

It’s common for brands to capitalize on each other, especially when one brand paid the Super Bowl hashtag premium (::cough cough:: looking at you, Tide!). But the best brand “bromance” of the night occurred between Cheez-It and Pringles, both owned by the Kellogg Company, utilizing the hashtag #SnackTalk. Throughout the night, the two kings of the plastic serving bowl battled it out, finally ending with Cheez-It dropping the mic.


The Hold Your Horses Award

Simmer down, McDonald’s. Let’s take it one major sporting event at a time. The fast food behemoth did not sponsor Super Bowl XLVIII, so instead they decided to throw attention a week early behind the Olympics. The problem? Nobody was interested.

The lesson? Brands need to keep Twitter real-time.

The Stay Classy Award

After knocking it out of the park last year and creating an entire marketing movement known as the “Oreo Moment,” Oreo embraced the fact that they could not top the epic real-time marketing win of Super Bowl XLVII. Instead of attempting the impossible, the brand gracefully stepped back rather than diminish their own marketing glow.


The Unsung Hero Award

Football, cars, and a never-quitting spirit. this one captured the true spirit of America on one of America’s biggest nights and deserved much higher engagement. #clientlove

Best All Around

When Cheerios developed their family-friendly commercial where a father gently breaks the news of a new baby brother to his little girl and she negotiates back with a new puppy, they had no idea Budweiser would also be releasing a puppy-centered commercial. So when the Budweiser commercial aired, Cheerios sent the beer giant a sweet real-time Tweet, capitalizing on the Budwiser #BestBuds hashtag and keeping both commercials relevant.

Puppies always win on social media and this year, so did cross-brand engagement. What was your favorite social moment from the Super Bowl?

Ignite Social Media