On Monday, Twitter released its own Super Bowl scorecard: Sunday’s game generated 24.1 million tweets from celebrities, fans, and even brands not affiliated with the sporting event. While that led several media outlets to declare the social media platform the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl game (one blogger went so far as to ask if Twitter could one day replace the Super Bowl ad; talk amongst yourselves), the real winner is marketers, who in Twitter — and even Pinterest — have gained valuable allies in creating cheap and effective guerrilla marketing campaigns. Proof came via the ultimate Super Bowl marketing play in the third quarter, when after the Superdome lost half its power, game play halted, commercials temporarily ceased and brands quickly took to the most reliable – even revolutionary – mode of communication at their disposal: the Internet. An estimated 108.4 million viewers were sidelined by the outage, and brands such as Audi, Oreo Cookie and Tide knew one place their attention would turn. “Power out?” Oreo posted to Twitter. “No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” AdAge reports that tweet was retweeted an impressive 10,000 times within one hour. That number almost pales in comparison to those in the Twitter report. During the outage, PBS cleverly pitched itself: “This might be a good time to think about alternative programming. #SuperBowlBlackOut #WeHaveDowntonPBS” Twitter’s official blog also noted it took a mere 4 minutes for the first Promoted Tweet to appear against searches for [power outage] on the micro-blogging site.
This year’s Super Bowl ads cost approximately $3.8 million for a 30-second spot. By engaging bored viewers online, the aforementioned brands got a little extra bang for their Super Bowl buck. They also went a little guerrilla; that is, they got in the middle of things (in this case, a major cultural event); they were funny, relevant and sometimes shocking; best of all, though, they got consumers talking.
Before Sunday’s broadcast, it wasn’t just brands with paid spots who recognized the value of the second screen. A week before the game, the Pinterest blog featured Super Bowl boards created by food bloggers, grocery chains and even The Pro Football Hall of Fame, which yes, really does have a Pinterest page (and so should you). And while a common complaint against brands using Pinterest has been that the image-based social platform doesn’t offer a public API, which allows brands to track how valuable the medium is for them as a tool of engagement, firms such as Curalate and Pinfluencer are working to change that by gathering data the old-fashioned way: trolling the Internet and counting. Benjamin Moore Paints, Campbell’s and Neiman Marcus are 3 of some 300 brands that have enlisted Curalate’s services to track their Pinterest play. The concept of their work bodes well for businesses, which will now be able to see how often their products appear in users’ pins.
It took a football game to supersize guerrilla marketing; thankfully, our online world is big enough to handle your next play.