The Real Super Bowl Winner? Social Media Marketing

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Gabriel Marketing Group

Super Bowl viewer or not, you’ve probably heard about the 35-minute power outage (and subsequent game delay) that occurred at the start of the second half of the game last night. While much of the chatter speculated on whether or not Beyonce’s performance literally brought down the house, the power of social media marketing emerged out of the darkness as the winner in the annual battle royale of advertising.

As we all know, the Super Bowl has long been just as much about the commercials shown during the game as it has been about the game itself. With ad space going for millions of dollars, the battle to be the best doesn’t stop on the gridiron. So, imagine the surprise of the brands that forked over huge percentages of their annual ad budgets for one 30-second spot when the most powerful pieces of marketing to emerge from this year’s Super Bowl were completely unplanned tweets.

When the power went out at the game, brands like Oreo and Tide realized that fans were taking to social networks on their smaller screens and seized the opportunity to create marketing pieces on the fly for Twitter and Facebook. Oreo tweeted an ad with the caption “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” It was retweeted more than 14,000 times, and the same image on Facebook has gotten more than 20,000 likes. Similarly, Tide tweeted out an ad with the caption “We can’t get your blackout, but we can get your stains out,” which was retweeted over 1,300 times.

As marketing and PR pros know, even the best-laid plans can, and often do, go awry; requiring backup plans and detailed response scenarios laid out ahead of time. Last night’s completely unprecedented, off-the-script responses made extremely clear just how 24/7 social media has made marketing. Tide and Oreo’s real-time responsiveness must become standard practice in today’s marketing environment.

What does it all mean? For brands, this kind of agility requires an efficient and nimble marketing strategy. Oreo and its agency had a solid messaging strategy in place; this makes the content creation and approval process go faster – and smoother – in time for a quick response.

Brands also need to be willing to take chances. While there have been many a social media brand disaster, the fear of putting your foot in your mouth shouldn’t take precedence over the opportunity to respond to customers in a real way, in real time.

When it comes to social media, consumers aren’t looking for perfectly polished marketing messages. They’re looking for brand content that can directly relate to them and their experiences. Oreo, Tide, and a few others realized this last night – and did an excellent job capitalizing on it.

Got any other quick-on-your-feet suggestions for marketers? Let us know in your comments below.

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Leah Nurik