The Best Super Bowl Twitter Marketing Past and Present: 140 Character Touchdowns!

The Super Bowl’s when the drinks are chilled, snacks are laid out by the dozens, and people get together to see who emerges as the champs of the gridiron. Online marketing experts will be also be celebrating, but only during commercials…

TV ads are notorious during the Super Bowl, but Twitter has become a battleground. Let’s look at some of the best Super Bowl Twitter marketing around.

The wittiest Super Bowl marketing tweets

Tide’s Stain Saver (2013)

Tide was quick to its feet during the Superbowl 47 blackout when they sent this tweet:

The tweet runs in a similar manner to Oreo’s own, and highlighted the detergent’s claims to effectively deal away with stains. While it wasn’t able to reach the same number of retweets as Oreo’s, Tide’s tweet still managed to draw attention.

Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark (2013)

Borio also took advantage of the blackout during Super Bowl 47:

The simple message immediately caught the attention of people online. It was retweeted an impressive 12,000 times in just an hour. The ad also garnered 20,000 likes on Facebook.

NASA’s Bruno Mars tweet (2014)

While the next year’s Super Bowl went without any hitch, it still proved to be a good playground for brands’ Twitter teams.NASA showed their love for space-themed puns:

The pun referred to singer Bruno Mars, who was among the performers for the halftime show. The agency also got into some friendly chat with others on Twitter about its photo:

NASA got to reuse the tweet two years later during Super Bowl 50 when Mars was again a performer.

Axe’ Kiss for Peace (2014)

This tweet from Axe body spray was meant to drive interest for their “Kiss for Peace” campaign:

The tweet got an overwhelming response, with more than 23,000 tweets using its #KissForPeace hashtag during the game. It was also lauded for promoting a positive cause, helping the brand cultivate a good image.

The funniest marketing tweets

These funny tweets were planned well in advance, rather than the spur of the moment pieces of wit above.

PBS’ Alternative programming spiel (2013)

The nasty blackout during Super Bowl 47 not only brought forth witty snarks, but also gave birth to some of the best funny quips during the whole ordeal. And one of those came from PBS:

They already had a weekly social media chat about Downton Abbey ongoing at that time, and the tweet fit in perfectly to help boost the discussions.

DiGiorno Pizza’s “done after 20 minutes” tweet (2014)

DiGiorno Pizza is pretty well-known as a savage clown on social media, and they made sure to bring that persona to Super Bowl 48. During what turned out to be a massive slaying of the Denver Broncos by the Seattle Seahawks, DiGiorno tweeted the following:

The tweet garnered more than 11,000 likes and got retweeted more than 15,000 times. But DiGiorno being DiGiorno, they didn’t stop there. The company’s official account went into a tweet barrage. Starting with a promise of imaginary pizzas:

A lot of weird commentary about the gameplay:

That’s a funny joke, but I want my pizza…

JC Penney’s “Drunk” tweets (2014)

When the game for Super Bowl 48 turned into pretty much a one-sided affair, a lot of fans took to Twitter to expressed their dismay. Some of those were the “drunken” folks at department store chain JC Penney:

Followed by another one:

The two “drunken” tweets might have caught the sentiments of fans as they were retweeted 17,000 and 19,785 times respectively. Even other brands took notice and poked fun at them:

While the tweets were initially thought to be actual mistakes, JC Penney quickly turned these into their favor with more hilarity in the next tweet:

The store eventually came out and admitted that it was indeed a planned stunt. Company spokesperson Kathy Coultas said that they were looking for a way to stand out amid all the activity that were going on Twitter about the Super Bowl that time. “We wanted our own narrative,” Coultas explained in a BuzzFeed interview.

Buffalo Wild Wings’ Button tweet (2014)

Another food company that had a blast during Super Bowl 48 was Buffalo Wild Wings. During the teardown of the Broncos by the Seahawks, the restaurant tweeted the following reaction:

The button Buffalo Wild Wings mentioned refered to the company’s popular “Game extender button” Super Bowl commercial back in 2011. The recall of the earlier commercial proved to be strong with netizens that the post got retweeted almost 30,000 times.

T-Mobile’s Unlimited Moves with Justin Bieber (2017)

When he is being goofy, Justin Bieber is definitely going to get a chuckle from you at some point or another. And telecoms company T-Mobile made sure that they will get a lot of laughs with their #UnlimitedMoves Super Bowl campaign featuring the pop star.

Both the fans and non-fans loved the hilarious video so much that it got retweeted more than 17,000 times. And then came the even crazier GIFs from the video that are certainly going to be meme fodder for quite a while:

Best brand-to-brand responses

While the intense competition on the gridiron is the Super Bowl’s main attraction, brands duking it out on Twitter also prove to be an entertaining sideshow. Here are some of the amusing conversations between brands in-between Super Bowl action.

LG to Budweiser (2016)

Budweiser arguably had one of the most heartwarming campaigns during Super Bowl 49, with their Lost Puppy commercials. But that didn’t stop electronics manufacturer LG from taking a dig at the ad:

To make things even more hilarious, LG hijacked Budweiser’s then-ongoing hashtag campaign for Super Bowl 50. This gave LG a lot of mileage, thanks to Budweiser’s cute mutt.

Gillette to Schick (2016)

Schick’s snazzy Transformers-esque ad for Super Bowl 50, which emphasized some new features of its latest shaver. The ad definitely caught the attention of a lot of people, including Schick’s main competitor:.

The simple photo ad poked fun at Schick seemingly underestimating Gillette. While it didn’t get as many retweets as others, the post still worked to give Gillette some good Twitter mileage at the expense of its rival.

Doritos vs. Snickers (2016)

Sometimes, a brand is just asking for it. Doritos poked fun on chocolate maker Snickers’ Marilyn Monroe-inspired ad for Super Bowl 50 in this tweet, Because someone had to:

Snickers was certainly not pleased that their ad was being made fun of:

But it all ended good for both brands, as they got a lot of exposure from the antics of each other.

T-Mobile vs. Verizon (2016)

While it is usually the social media team going at it with another social media team, sometimes the executives also get in on the action. T-Mobile CEO John Legere Attended Super Bowl 50. T-Mobile’s competitor Verizon was the network provider for the event. Legere took the opportunity to troll Verizon:

While Legere’s tweet was more for his personal amusement, his company was quick to join the fray. T-Mobile used the opening to engage with Twitter users who responded to Legere’s tweet, the carrier got the chance to promote their plans to these potential customers. When the CEO gets involved, this can be an aspect of your Twitter influencer marketing strategy.

Odd Super Bowl Twitter marketing

Sometimes the goal of the best Super Bowl Twitter marketing is often to get the message out as easily as possible. But there are times when you get to read a brand’s Super Bowl tweets and go “What the heck are they thinking?”

McDonald’s (2015)

One thing you would expect from brands during the Super Bowl is to talk a lot about themselves and their ads on Twitter. Many were dumbfounded when McDonald’s instead tweeted about other brands’ commercials:

McDonald’s became the most talked about brand during the event using this strategy. The tweets part of a contest where people can win any of the products featured in the commercials it tweeted about. The contest helped further drive McDonald’s engagements during the event to a remarkable level.  

Esurance (2016)

The most talked about brand on Twitter during Super Bowl 50 didn’t even have an ad during the game.Insurance provider Esurance got a spot during the pre-game commercial slots, which were a lot cheaper. But that’s not what got them a lot of buzz on Twitter.

What got a lot of people talking was the contest they launched on the platform. The rule of the contest was simple: Use the hashtag #Esurancesweepstakes during the game and you got a shot at $1 million worth of prizes.

The allure of those large prizes was all that people needed to hop on board. At the end of the promo, Esurance got itself more than 800,000 mentions.

Volvo (2015)

Coming up with an effective advertising spot for the Super Bowl costs a lot. Volvo decided they would just “steal” it for Super Bowl 49. The game plan was simple: for every car commercial shown during the game, viewers just need to tweet using the hashtag #volvocontest. The prize at stake was a brand new Volvo car for their loved ones.

Volvo racked up 2,000 tweets for every car commercial, and effectively intercepted attention meant for their competitors.

Audi (2011)

Audi’s TV spot for Super Bowl 45 was a pretty standard fare, except that it has a dedicated hashtag shown at the end: #Progress. Why is this in the odd category? Well, it’s because Audi was the first one to pull the stunt off during the event. And the company had a good plan to get people to actually use the hashtag. Each tweet containing the hashtag serves as a ticket for a raffle where one can win a chance to test drive the Audi R8 (which was being released then):

Audi saw a 47 percent increase in the number of followers during the period. The success of their campaign, in turn, showcased the power of Twitter marketing, convincing many brands to follow suit during the next Super Bowl.  

The most heartwarming Twitter campaigns

Super Bowl Twitter campaigns appeal to a wide variety of emotions, be it excitement, curiosity, or joy. And often, the most successful ones are those that tug the heartstrings.

Coca-Cola’s Make It Happy (2015)

Coca-Cola encouraged users to respond to negative tweets using the hashtag #MakeItHappy through the provided link. Coke’s special algorithm then turned the text in these tweets into fun and lighthearted ASCII art:

The campaign proved popular with the brand getting 162,999 mentions and over 6 billion impressions, making it one of the top social media marketing campaigns during the event.

Budweiser This Bud’s For You (2017)

Beer brand Budweiser is well-known for making pretty heartwarming Super Bowl campaigns. Such was this case with their #BestBuds campaign during Super Bowl 48, which they are doing again this year. The #ThisBudsForYou campaign aims to tackle the relevant topic of immigration through the story of one of its founders, Adolphus Busch:

The new campaign hopes to replicate the success of the earlier one. And from the looks of it, it’s well underway, with the video already being retweeted more than 3,000 times even before the game.

Airbnb’s We Accept (2017)

Airbnb is another brand that chose to incorporate current social issues into its Super Bowl marketing campaign. Like Budweiser, the company focused  on immigration and discrimination for its #WeAccept campaign.

The ad’s simple but powerful message was widely accepted online. It was so successful that it got retweeted more than 24,000 times, and became a trending topic during the game. It also managed to tie in closely with Airbnb’s own brand message, with the company also addressing the cases of discrimination occurring within their own community of providers.

Get your brand noticed at the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest marketing opportunities for brands yearly. But with the number of advertisers promoting their spots on Twitter during the event, yours can easily get drowned when you want to get retweets

Here are the tactics being used by the best Twitter marketing experts of the past and present:

  • Show your wits: Snappy one-liners can work well, and will give you plenty of retweet potential.
  • Be funny: Humor is always a welcomed part of your Super Bowl strategy, and is also popular with those watching the game.
  • Engage other brands: This is your opportunity to get a lot of visibility thanks to your competitors.
  • Go out of the box: Come up with a Twitter marketing strategy that no one has done before. Who knows, it might actually work.
  • Tug the heartstrings: Everyone loves getting their emotional side touched every once in awhile.

Do any of these and you have an effective Twitter marketing strategy ready for the Super Bowl. All you need is to get those in the bleachers, and in their homes, tweeting about your brand.