5 Lessons from Super Bowl Social Media


There were times during last night’s Super Bowl (SB45) that I thought that without the promoted (read: paid for) trend of #superbowl that the actual game might not have been trending at all. That’s because the ads took over and dominated the conversation. Eminem trended, Vader trended, as did Detroit, Doritos and more. The hash tag conversation about the ads – #BrandBowl – stayed in the top Twitter trends from about the second quarter on. It really was the “Social Bowl”

After the Lombardi Trophy is resting safely in Wisconsin, here are some of the learnings that brands can take with them, from the Social Media Butterfly.

1. Your Twitter name, or handle, should be well thought out, and you should own all of the instances of your name. Doritos learned this the hard way. There were a lot of Tweets addressed to @Doritos talking about the company’s Super Bowl commercials. The trouble is, the @Doritos handle belongs to some guy in Bali who hasn’t Tweeted in months and only has about 72 followers. The company uses (among others) @DoritosUSA. Doritos lost a lot of traffic and exposure to Indonesia last night.
2. The brands themselves got lost in the social conversation. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see any brand participation during #BrandBowl last night. I’m sure they spoke, because I went to the individual company pages and saw the Tweets, but the feed from that conversation moved so fast that the normal human could only, maybe, catch one out of eight Tweets. There was so much conversation that the brands got drowned out. Additionally, none of the brands that I saw were addressing critiques of the ads. They were just promoting the ads. Bad, bad, bad. A few years ago when I participated in the ad Tweeting, the companies were addressing the specifics about their ads. The audience felt listened to. I liked the idea from some of the car companies to have their own hashtag where you could discuss that ad. The trouble is, in the rush to keep up with the overall discussion, did anyone participate? The brands that win out of this will be the ones that can harness next year’s discussion.
3. The old adage that “any PR is good PR” may have backfired on a few companies last night – specifically Groupon. They need a new agency, because all of their commercials were really bad, and one even made fun of – and capitalized on – the conditions in Tibet. That might have been worse than the Kenneth Cole Tweet that blamed the uprising in Egypt on his new spring line. Cole’s Tweet was born of ignorance and stupidity, Groupon knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t care. The Living Social ad was slightly amusing, and didn’t offend anyone, and may have added customer share after last night’s Groupon debacle. I saw several Tweets where customers said they would never use Groupon again. That remains to be seen. The “test baby” commercial also drew a lot of ire – is it ever okay to slam a baby against a glass wall, even if it is subtitled as a test baby?
4. Being a copycat may get you attention, but does it sell products? Xoom did a 1984 commercial as a dig to Apple and their iPad. Here’s the thing, though. Apple’s 1984 commercial is so iconic, and so big in the pop culture consciousness, their attempt at an Apple dig came off like a sorry imitation. I think the ad may have helped Apple more than hurt it. And last night was the night of the elderly and washed up celebrities. Just because Snickers had a hit last year with Betty White doesn’t mean every brand should adopt an older B-list star. Cloris Leachman was “Go Granny” – an entirely social campaign by Network Solutions (Yay! for all social, boo! for the copycat.) GoDaddy – aside from their offensive ads – enlisted Joan Rivers. Neither of which are Betty White. Even Snickers couldn’t top their own commercial. Roseanne Barr and Richard White certainly are not Betty White. They should’ve quit that campaign while they were ahead.
5. Extended cuts were all the rage last night. The company shelled out the $3M for the 30 second spot, and then had extended cuts online. Good idea, bad execution. How would you know that the extended cut was online? Perhaps in the commercial, you might want to TELL PEOPLE. I mean, we know now, because it’s been reported in the media (and some of us went to the sites last night). Dear companies, customers don’t have ESP! And then VW went the opposite direction. They leaked the 60-second cut in advance, and then aired the 30 second. Weird marketing move. However, in either length, VW clearly won with the Wee Vader angle.

Did you have a favorite Super Bowl ad? Did you have a social media learning that I missed?

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