How Advertisers Made The Super Bowl Power Outage Work For Them

Call it the Super Bowl of real-time marketing.
Savvy advertisers quickly took to Twitter tonight to
capitalize on the unexpected power outage during
this year’s Super Bowl. “We do carry candles,”
Walgreens tweeted when the power went out at the
Super Bowl. “We also sell lights.” Oreo tweeted,
“Power out? No problem,” posting an ad that
finished, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
Meanwhile, Tide tweeted, “We can’t get your #
blackout, but we can get your stains out,” posting
its own ad. Audi took a direct hit at competitor and
Superdome naming rights-holder Mercedes-Benz
with this tweet: “Sending some LEDs to the @
mbusa Superdome right now…”
They and other marketers responded to–indeed,
capitalized on–an unprecedented event with instant
on-brand communication.
“This is an example of the new world of marketing
where things happen so fast, where brands respond
real time to the environment,” said Tim Calkins, a
marketing professor at the Kellogg School of
Management. “In the Super Bowl tonight we saw
advertisers respond to other advertisers–for
example, right after Mio runs their spot,
SodaStream puts out a tweet that says, ‘ @
makeitmio is delicious in SodaStream! Try it
sometime.’ Everybody is responding incredibly fast.
This is a huge change. It used to be you created a
Super Bowl ad and you were done. Now what’s
happening is marketers are generating content and
interacting with people all throughout the game,”
he said.
“What was nice about the power outage is
everybody jumped on their mobile devices when
the power went out and everybody started talking
about the game but moreso about the ads, which
was a positive development because it gave the
early advertisers an even bigger impact,” Calkins
said. It’s a consequence of marketing’s speed that
during the Super Bowl advertisers are creating new
messages every few minutes.
What are the implications on the Super Bowl as an
ad stage? “The Super Bowl provides a platform and
prompts a discussion,” Calkins said. “A Super Bowl
ad is a ticket to participate in all of these
discussions, because very few people are talking
about brands that aren’t on the Super Bowl tonight.
the brands on the super bowl–either good or bad–
are being talked about. what it says is marketing is
really changing because you have to respond so
fast. getting a supper bowl ad is important but its
just the first step.
So how can brands measure the ROI of instant
advertising? “It’s very tough, but it’s very smart,”
Calkins said. “When SodaStream is out there
commenting on other people’s ads, it’s just a way
to multiply the effect of your spending.”



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