Who Played the Super Bowl Best: Social Media Edition

If we stopped the above line before pointing out that we’re referring specifically to how social media was used in relation to the big game, this could be a fairly short piece. The Super Bowl itself was almost as big a blowout as has ever been seen, to the chagrin of Denver fans and the delight of Las Vegas bookies.

Last year, the lights went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Super Bowl Sunday, prompting the folks who manage the Twitter account for Oreo to quip, “Power out? No problem.” That was accompanied by a graphic of one of the brand’s sandwich cookies on a dark background with the line, “You can still dunk in the dark”. With that simple line, the snack food company won the Super Bowl, with more than 10,000 people retweeting the message in just the first hour.

This year, facing the ever-growing tab for running a Super Bowl commercial – a 30-second slot cost about $4 million – countless brands hoped to follow Oreo’s lead. That includes restaurant chains, which mostly sat out the big game advertising.

”People talked about wanting to capitalize on the Oreo thing all year long, and a lot of marketers are hoping to get the same success while really spending very little or no money whatsoever,” advertising industry analyst Maureen Morrison told Nation’s Restaurant News recently. “It seems reasonable to me that these companies would want to go that route, but at this point, how would you stand out with everybody trying to do the same thing?”

With teams of social media and marketing experts locked in computer-filled rooms throughout the evening, there were some hits and some misses. Given that we’re in the foodservice industry, we’re going to focus on the winners that are, too. We’re also focusing on Twitter, where Oreo made its splash last year and countless companies hoped to follow suit this year.

Before we get started with this list, keep in mind that it is built on a subjective opinion. If you disagree, feel free to nominate your own winners in the comments below.

Best Response to the Game: DiGiorno Pizza

DiGiorno Pizza Superbowl Ad

It seemed like the people at DiGiorno may have set out with the intent of making some smack talk like this to pair with the hashtag #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT. They may have even pre-gamed this one, just in case the score was as lopsided as it was by 20 minutes in. I think they nailed it, with a tweet that was both well-timed and highlighted the speed with which their signature product can be ready.

DiGiorno Tweet’s Stats*

  • 11,764 Favorites

Best Seemingly Pre-gamed Tweet: Arby’s

Aby's Superbowl Tweet

Clearly some composition and design work went into this pic from the Arby’s Twitter account, which was sent out not long into the game. It’s a pretty safe bet that any Super Bowl will have at least one significant turnover, but it was a good thing Arby’s sent this one out on one of the first instances of that type of botched play. As it turns out, most of what Denver did when it had the ball is turn it over, so in the end, there wasn’t any one that likely stood out for most people as a lynchpin in the Seahawks’ win. The question is, could Arby’s have alienated as many or more people as they impressed with their Super Bowl social media skills by seemingly taking a shot at the Broncos? The numbers may bear that out.

Arby’s Tweet’s Stats*

  • 58 Favorites

Best Use of Crowd Members for Social Media Marketing: Doritos

Doritos Superbowl Tweet

The company used what it claimed were real-life tests of how “bold” random New Yorkers are to select people to whom they would give one of 60 tickets to the big game purchased by the chip maker. Those people were given a hooded orange parka to wear during the game. When they did, it turned out they were seated in such a way that they looked, viewed from above, vaguely like a Dorito. The shortcomings of this plan were that it turned out it wasn’t all that cold at the big game, which likely meant their “bold” participants were a bit sweaty by the end of the game. Also, the Denver Broncos’ team colors are blue and orange, which sort of diluted the impact of a giant orange triangle in one section of the stands. We’ve provided the numbers below, but we’re certain the Doritos folks would point out they had a dozen or so fans who were at the game tweet out pictures of their “hack,” as they called it, which also appeared on millions of television screens in what they dubbed a “photobomb” of the big game.

Doritos Tweet’s Stats*

  • 4,401 Favorites

Best Incorporation of a Commercial’s Theme into Social Media: Chobani

Chobani Super Bowl Tweet

Chobani’s in-game commercial features a bear that terrifies shoppers in a little general store. The grizzly knocks over all the shelves in the shop and tosses around the other food items, but it turns out his savagery just stems from his anger that human foods are so processed. He’s finally made happy by some Chobani Greek yogurt and a voiceover touts the company’s commitment to using “only natural ingredients.” To tie that into a social post, the Chobani social media folks provided this quirky picture of a bear, with text that began, “Speak up for good food made right.”

Chobani Tweet’s Stats*

  • 393 Favorites

Best Response to JCPenney’s Bizarre Tweets: Snickers and Coors Light (Tie)

In case you missed it, JCPenney’s Twitter feed appeared to have been taken over by someone who hit the bar long before the game started. In the end, it was apparently a ploy to promote the fact that the retailer has official Team USA gear for sale, including mittens. That didn’t seem to excuse tweets like, “Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0,” for many Twitter users, nor for food brands that took advantage of the situation.

Tweet Responsibly

Snickers Tweet’s Stats*

  • 1,558 Favorites

Snicker's Response

Coors Light Tweet’s Stats*

  • 5,992 Favorites

Best Social Media Story About a Super Bowl Commercial that Wasn’t Made: Newcastle

Newcastle Anti Football Ad

The people at Newcastle Brown Ale want everyone to know they didn’t make a multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercial. As a continuation of their jesting ads that involve interns using Photoshop and velociraptors in top hats, they’ve been telling Twitter how awesome their ad would have been, had they made it. Not only does that equal a pretty entertaining series of videos and tweets about the Super Bowl ad that wasn’t, it also built them a following around #IfWeMadeIt and mentions in countless articles about corporate Super Bowl social media efforts. Because the Twitter love was spread out over several tweets, we deemed it impossible to pick one as representative, so no stats here.

*Note: All stats were observed about 2:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

Derek Hodges
Derek Hodges

Derek Hodges is a proud North Carolinian who moved to Tennessee in 2006 to preach the gospel of Cheerwine and mix some Tar Heel blue in with all the orange. He has made wonderful friends who tolerate occasional remarks like those above. He and his wife Amanda enjoy spending weekends at Dollywood and trying to convince their dog Shiloh to get over his fear of swimming.

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