Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How Oreo, Other Brands Dominated Twitter During the Super Bowl Power Outage


Many people log into Twitter to follow and add to real-time commentary about what happens on their favorite programs, sports or other events on TV. Since Twitter has such a presence as consumer's "second screen," it makes sense that businesses large and small want to be a part of that commentary, and get their marketing messages seen by the masses that are participating.

That's exactly what happened during last night's Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. A power outage knocked out many of the lights in the stadium for more than 30 minutes. During the delay, many viewers migrated to social media to keep the conversation flowing. Brands, naturally, followed.

Perhaps the best example of how a business successfully latched onto this trending topic to market their wares came from cookie company Oreo. It tweeted: "Power out? No problem." Then Oreo linked to an ad of an Oreo cookie, with the copy, "You can still dunk in the dark." By the time the lights came back on in New Orleans, the tweet had already been shared more than 12,000 times.

Related: The 5 Biggest Twitter Marketing Fails of 2012

Why was the tweet so effective? It was smart, brand-appropriate and it came together quickly. Oreo's brand team and a crew from its creative agency, 360i, were together and on-hand to find a creative way to take advantage of the social media opportunity. "You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly," 360i agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. "When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you've got magic."

Not all brands have success when attempting to piggyback onto trending Twitter topics or other events in the news. Last summer, for example, baked-goods behemoth Entenmann's faced a backlash after its marketing agency tweeted from the @Entenmanns feed: "Who's #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!" following the "not guilty" verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial. This fall, home appliance company KitchenAid caused a minor meltdown when it sent a strange tweet about Obama's deceased grandmother during the first presidential debate. 

If a business is going to try tweeting about a trending topic, it should do so with a tone that reflects its brand. And it doesn't hurt to avoid tweeting personal or political opinions.

Related: 10 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring a Social Media Consultant

In addition to Oreo, here's how some other brands got their creative marketing juices flowing during last night's Super Bowl power outage:

  • Walgreens. The drugstore chain tweeted: "We do carry candles. #SuperBowl." Then followed it up with: "..we also sell lights. #SuperBowl."

  • Audi. The car company took the opportunity to make a jab at competitor, Mercedes, with this tweet: "Sending some LEDs to the @MBUSA Superdome right now..."

  • Tide. The laundry detergent brand tweeted this one: "We can't get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out. #SuperBowl #TidePower" Then it followed it up with this, "The lights are back on, now you can see our #MiracleStain," and it linked to a picture of the stain featured in Tide's Super Bowl commercial.

What was your favorite Super Bowl-related marketing tweet? Let us know in the comments below.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks