As social media has become an increasingly bigger part of brand marketing strategies, its presence in live events, like the Super Bowl has also been on the rise. Not only are brands creating 30-second masterpieces to air during the big game, audiences are also looking to social to see their favorite brands engage on a more personal level and to tell brands how much they loved (or sometimes hated) the highly anticipated ads.
It’s no secret that communicating an authentic brand personality is a key to marketing success; just take a look at Wendy’s snarky responses that led them to viral fame. Social media users love to witness a brand’s true character and understand what it stands for, rather than knowing them as simply self-promotional machines.
At this year’s Super Bowl, we spotted a social strategy that when played well can be an absolute home run (or touchdown): Brands using social to engage not only with their target audiences, but also their competitors and other brands. The NHL has been a perfect example of this in recent months, full of teams poking fun at each other like in this Twitter exchange between ESPN and the San Jose Sharks.
Hey @espn, thoughts on showing more hockey highlights?— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) July 12, 2013
Here are four brands that used this strategy to win big on social during the Big Game:
Pine-Sol created a perfect example of brand engagement on Twitter by tapping into the buzz circulating around the Mr. Clean commercial spot. The brand shared a Twitter poll (an effective catalyst for audience engagement) challenging Mr. Clean to a dance-off with the Pine-Sol Lady for charity. The poll collected over 200,000 votes, and Pine-Sol brought itself into the public conversation — without spending a million dollars on a commercial.
Should Mr. Clean accept The Pine-Sol Lady's challenge to a dance off for charity?— Pine-Sol (@pinesolcleaners) February 6, 2017
After partnering with Stranger Things to drop a surprise Super Bowl ad promoting the second season of the hit show, Eggo sparked conversation on social with this creative Tweet. For the uninitiated, Stranger Things features a kind of alternative universe called the Upside Down (and a central character who lives for Eggo waffles). So naturally, Eggo’s tweet at the show was entirely, you guessed it, upside down. The flipped text and GIF was an eye catching and clever way to generate buzz.
Although it may not stack up on followers or engagement of the other Super Bowl brand stars,Persil ProClean deserves kudos for its clever way of inserting itself into the conversations of heavier hitters. The brand published a series of Tweets to large brands with relevant, popular TV spots, commenting on how its products can help them clean up their messes. This example stresses the importance of social media managers staying active during large events so they can act quickly when the opportunity presents itself.
T-Mobile released an attention grabbing spot during Sunday’s game, but Verizon (and its social media team) refused to be overshadowed. Verizon shot off a few tweets, showing off its more expansive features playing off T-Mobile’s #UnlimitedMoves. While some thought some of Verizon’s sassy responses were fueled by jealousy of the attention surrounding the T-Mobile spot, it served its purpose of bringing light to Verizon while the conversation was largely around its competitor.
There are many lessons to take away from Super Bowl social, but one that outshines the rest is to not be afraid of interacting with other brands and competitors on social. Tapping into someone else’s spotlight, if done successfully, can be an easy way to generate engagement and keep your brand in the conversation. We’re looking forward to how brand’s will try and top this year’s social (and to another Super Bowl party) next February.
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