Witty Tweets Make an Impact

Social Media
Super Bowl commercials are expensive, and some brands are trying to create the same brand buzz using Twitter.

Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII had its fair share of memorable commercials, tugging at heartstrings and creating lasting impressions of the different brands.But, as Mila D'Antonio mentioned in this blog, having a great commercial is no longer enough. Instead, in this age of social media, it's all about turning the 30-second spot into a lasting impression.

Further, not all companies can afford to spend $4 million to air their commercial during the game. Instead, some savvy brands are leveraging social media to have an impact without having to empty their pockets. Oreo's did it last year with their "You can still dunk in the dark" message.

This year it was JC Penney's turn to leverage Twitter to make a message go viral and create buzz without spending a lot of money. It started during the first half of the game, when these two typo-laden messages were tweeted from the brand's corporate account.

These created social buzz, with many wondering whether the tweeter had a few too many drinks, or if the brand had hired a toddler to man the Twitter account. To which JC Penney responded with the following message, which also refers to the winter Olympics.

SAS, which was analyzing Twitter during Sunday's game, notes that creativity and a few well-played messages can achieve buzz for no money. "Clearly it doesn't take millions to create brand buzz," says Dan Zaratsian, SAS' text analytics technical consultant. "Most of the ads will be forgotten this time next year but people will probably remember JCPenney's stunt just as they still remember the Oreo's Tweet from last year's Big Game."

However, Zaratsian notes that while JC Penney's tweets got a lot of attention, this wasn't all positive. "Overall sentiment was low for JC Penney's Tweets compared to sentiment for the paid ads," he says.

While this might be the start of a trend of organizations leveraging Twitter to create brand buzz, Wilson Raj, SAS' director of global customer intelligence, notes that social media is also delicate. "You need to be quick, be careful, and monitor your brand for viral events--both positive and negative," he says.

So, what should brands keep in mind as they prepare their messages for next year's Super Bowl? Raj shares the following tips:

1. Be true to your brand but be unique. "Unfortunately, no one remembers the "ok" commercials. But they always remember the best and the worst commercials," he says.
2. While negative publicity isn't encouraged, when done right and doesn't damage the brand reputation, negative buzz can go viral. "People will be talking about JC Penney's for a long time, and from my analysis I can almost guarantee they will be a topic of conversation next year, just as Oreo's is being mentioned this year."
3. Raj recommends that organizations need to start early to tap into signs for themes or conversation points. "Harness these insights to see if there's an appropriate play for your brand and how to take advantage."
4. Social is only part of a company's overall marketing strategy. "Retailers should not view Super Bowl buzz in isolation but as a continuous conversation--both before and after the event."
5. Finally, Raj notes that retailers should look for specific threads from Super Bowl buzz that can be expanded or extended into fresh campaigns.