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October 22, 2014
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Unconventional Super Bowl Ads Win the Game

Remember last year when Oreo blew up the social media world with this tweet following the Super Bowl blackout?

I still do.  And besides the usual Budweiser Clydesdale commercial, it’s the only ad that I still do remember from last year’s Super Bowl.  Additionally, that one tweet cost Oreo zero dollars – $5 million less than what some will pay for a 30-second television ad during this year’s game.

Well apparently a few other marketing departments have since taken note of how effective and economical alternative advertising schemes can be.  If you stuck around watching FOX after the Seahawks’ on-field annihilation of the Broncos concluded, you probably saw Esurance’s commercial, which as Jim from The Office pointed out, cost only $3.5 million since it was the first commercial after the Super Bowl.

The $1.5 million they saved Esurance is giving to some lucky person who tweets #EsuranceSave30 between Sunday and 4 a.m. Tuesday.  Since every single tweet is counted as a submission into the contest and submissions are unlimited, individuals are pretty much encouraged to tweet #EsuranceSave30 as much as possible.

That’s why everyone on your Twitter feed (myself included, because, I mean, why not?  College is expensive) will be including #EsuranceSave30 in every single one of their tweets through Tuesday morning.  I’m just disappointed the three times I used the hashtag in this article can’t be included.

So while most companies spent $4 to 5 million on one 30-second ad Sunday, Esurance spent $5 million for a 30-second ad Sunday, and a Seahawks-like domination of Twitter for 36 hours.

Another unconventional tactic came from retailer J.C. Penney’s whose incompressible Twitter antics had followers wondering about the account user’s sobriety.  Turns out it was of course a purposive ploy to plug their new Olympic mittens.  But the reaction the account garnered got comparable buzz as any televised commercial and, again, at a much cheaper price.

Like it or not, people are increasingly consuming the Super Bowl, as well as other prestigious televised events, through multiple screens.  Following along via laptops, smartphones and tablets, means wider audiences on social media outlets, as well as a decreasing proportion of viewers’ attention committed to the televised broadcast.

Thus heavy social media marketing during the Super Bowl is not just cheaper, but it’s smarter too.  Why pay for advertising when you can trick everyone else to do it for you?  And if they use the money they save to breed Doberhuahuas, I would not complain.