There was a championship football game played on Sunday, February 5th, right? There was a big, exciting finish between a team from New England, and one from Atlanta? I think that sounds familiar… For those in marketing, and for many in their living rooms, the big game is more about the ads, tweets, and brands than the game itself. Therefore, hashtags like #BrandBowl and #AdBowl were used alongside #BigGame and #SB51.
In today’s 140-character news cycle, live-tweeting by brands during big events (Super Bowl, Academy Awards, World Series, etc.) has become commonplace, and almost expected. By not being ready to tweet a funny GIF or respond to a negative comment, you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage with your community AND get your brand in front of a new audience.
27.6 million tweets using #SB51 were posted during the live telecast, so let’s look at some brand tweets that made a statement during the game.
Brands Who Buzzed on Twitter
Per Twitter, these brands got the most buzz:
— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) February 6, 2017
I don’t think this list will surprise anyone. These are big-name brands with big-time budgets. Pepsi sponsored the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga. Audi, Budweiser, and 84 Lumber all had attention-grabbing commercials, which had people flocking to Twitter to express their opinions and see what else the brands had to say.
Audi’s “Daughter” commercial was one of the most talked-about ads, and it ended up resonating with many people as it made a statement on equal pay and gender.
— Audi (@Audi) February 6, 2017
From a social media standpoint, adding the #DriveProgress to the end of the commercial was a no-brainer and smart move. People immediately knew what hashtag to use, and how to engage with the brand. If you visit their profile, you can see @ replies to people engaging with the commercial – including celebs like Octavia Spencer (who may actually switch from BMW), Aisha Tyler, and Alyssa Milano.
We see you #Audi great commercial
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) February 6, 2017
Since Sunday, their tweets have focused on this #DriveProgress campaign, emphasizing that this wasn’t a one-time, quick viral hit. It’s part of a bigger strategy and campaign, which makes it more authentic and likely to success long-term. Even Buick, a competitor, showed them love.
SweetWater Brewery and Sam Adams
Speaking of competition, what’s a little friendly trash talk between breweries in New England and Atlanta during the game? This ended up as one of my personal favorite interactions of the evening. These two brands shared hilarious GIFs and a lot of smack talk as their two respective teams faced off.
— SweetWater Brewery (@sweetwaterbrew) February 5, 2017
The back-and-forth ribbing went all night as it seemed Atlanta would handily win, and then suddenly New England made their stunning comeback. I love when brands show personality and act human. I think breweries are in an especially unique branding position to get away with having a little fun.
— Samuel Adams Beer (@SamuelAdamsBeer) February 6, 2017
It looks like SweetWater now must pay up from a bet, and they aren’t looking forward to it, but I’m looking forward to the social media that comes out of it!
— SweetWater Brewery (@sweetwaterbrew) February 6, 2017
Some massive shade went down between cell phone providers on Sunday!
Sprint started things off with a commercial showing a dad fake his own death to get out of a Verizon contract. Ouch.
Verizon immediately struck back with their own tweet using #SprintFails and an accompanying video.
— Verizon (@verizon) February 6, 2017
However, Sprint did do a great job of milking their commercial on Twitter throughout the night. They turned the video into several GIFs and shared them with appropriate copy. If you’re going to produce a big-budget ad, you might as well get the most use out of it!
— Sprint (@sprint) February 6, 2017
T-Mobile and Verizon also got into a war of tweets, and T-Mobile CEO, Jon Legere, got in on the action. Things certainly got heated with safe words and mentions of bondage….
Yes @Tmobile, we’re into BDSM. Bigger coverage map, Devastating Speed, and Massive capacity.
— Verizon (@verizon) February 6, 2017
It remains to be seen if a Twitter war between brands like this benefits anyone. Frankly, I couldn’t tell if some of it was light-hearted competition, or just being nasty. While I enjoy seeing brands interact and ribbing like SweetWater and Sam Adams, I don’t think going below the belt is a good way to attract new customers, and no one wants to break the jealousy meter!
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 6, 2017
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) February 6, 2017
Airbnb did not shy away from making a political statement with their #WeAccept campaign. Their campaign goes across marketing platforms: commercial, blog post, Twitter, and Facebook. They made a splash by launching it during the big game, and have since followed up with social media content to support it. Even their cover photos and bios have been updated to reflect this new campaign. Besides their own content, they have been retweeting the likes of John Kerry and have begun working with the International Rescue.
— IRC Intl Rescue Comm (@theIRC) February 6, 2017
A cross-platform strategy with a timely and relevant topic is sure to garner publicity and even goodwill amongst its supporters. I’ll be staying tuned to see how this #WeAccept campaign develops, and the ultimate results from it.
The brands that best succeeded on Twitter last Sunday used social media as part of an overall integrated strategy. If you’re going to drop five million bucks on a 30-second ad, you’re going to want to get the most out of that exposure, and be ready for any crises. Twitter allows brands to engage in real-time with consumers, competitors, and other brands to support all of their marketing efforts. Finally, as the use of live video arises, I predict that we’ll see more brands going live next year, which could be interesting. Until then!
Who do you think nailed Twitter during the Brand Bowl? Tell us in the comments!