How Superbowl XLVII's Blackout Became A Marketer's Dream


Although the Baltimore Ravens technically won Superbowl XLVII, the social winner was real-time content marketing. Despite the extensive planning and high price tag (four million dollars) for a Super Bowl commercial, arguably the best content during the big game last night wasn't on TV -- it was on Twitter


During the third quarter of the Super Bowl, half of the power went out at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for 35 minutes, causing confusion among broadcasters, spectators, athletes, coaches, and viewers. It's no surprise that the blackout prompted multiple humorous and witty tweets, but some brands did surprise us with their creative responses to this wildly unprecedented pause in the game.


When something unexpected happens during a live event, marketers must adapt quickly to seize opportunity. You no longer need to purchase a $4 million 30-second television spot to make a lasting impact. In fact, Twitter revealed just how fast some marketers jumped on the blackout social buy bandwagon. Let's take a look at which brands had success with their real-time marketing content during the Super Bowl.


Oreo aired its first ever Super Bowl ad this year, which launched a well integrated Instagram campaign. While most brands used hashtags to extend the conversation beyond their 30-second spot, Oreo asked their viewers to share their passion for Oreo on Instagram. Not only was the cookie brand a leader with their Super Bowl ad, when the lights went out in the Superdome, Oreo quickly tweeted, "Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark." The tweet generated over 14,000 retweets and national coverage across countless blogs and news reports.



Lesson for marketers: Adaptability and preparation are key ingredients to success. Make decisions carefully, but quickly. Be ready and willing to alter your content at any given moment.


Some brands, including Tide,, Budweiser, and SodaStream*, incorporated their products into their humorous blackout tweets.






*Likeable client


However, brands like Walgreens and Buffalo Wild Wings, which didn't have a Super Bowl spot, were able to participate in the conversation by tweeting their own two cents.




Lesson for marketers: Incorporate your brand voice and product appropriately.  Convey passion through your content and keep it as simple as possible.


What was your favorite tweet during Super Bowl XLVII?