Tweeting the Super Bowl

There’s no doubt twitter has become a prominent form of information. Whether it’s a person, business, corporation, or organization, it seems everyone these days has a twitter. It an extremely useful tool to keep consumers up to date on information and current event. But with great power, comes great responsibility. Cinnabon learned this the hard way after legendary actress Carrie Fisher died.


This post was not received well. Many people saw it as inconsiderate, immoral, or trying to profit of a sad situation. Cinnabon’s brand was instantly tarnished due to just just one tweet. It’s safe to assume some one lost their job because of this. This is a reminder of how important it is to think before you tweet. Does this offend anyone? What am I trying to say in this tweet? Can it be taken the wrong way? You don’t get a second chance either, in today’s media once it’s out there you can’t get it back.

This situation got me thinking about the possibilities of live tweeting during the Super Bowl. Many companies do it, so one has to work extra hard to stand out during a time everyone trying to get some press. In 2012, the power in the football stadium, delaying the game for an extended period of time. Oreo, sensing an opportunity tweeted this:


This tweet was well received and retweeted thousands of times. What made made this tweet so good was how timely it was. But how did Oreo get this out so fast? It has become custom for company’s that have a stake in big events to hold a ‘war room’. In this war room, all the major advertising and public relation contributors get together and see how they can market of the given event or situation at hand. This allowed Oreo to make, process and approve the tweet at hand so quickly.

Esurance decided to step up the game in 2014:

This commercial asked people to tweet out a hashtag to win money, which then got the hashtag quickly trending on the Twitter home page. It sent the twitter-verse into a spiraling frenzy. It utilizes multiple media platforms to first send out a message, and then to get people engaged in the brand. It has a likable celebrity in John Krasinski, a big pile of money, and a clever gimmick. The risk associated with it is that fewer people may see it, so the message may fail to take hold.

Overall, twitter can can be a savior or a destroyer when it comes to a companies real time marketing scheme. It important to remain mindful, and to use safe and ethical IMC techniques.

How do you feel about Esurance taking the risk that it did? Have you ever been swept up in Twitter frenzy? What are some instances where tweeting has worked, or instead upset the public?

-John Karcher


10 thoughts on “Tweeting the Super Bowl

  1. In my opinion I don’t think this tweet is harmful to anyone. Of course it is sad that Carrie Fisher has passed, but I don’t think they were trying to offend anyone by posting this. Cinnabon was just trying to promote their cinnamon buns while using something recent that has effected a lot of people who liked Carrie Fisher.

  2. I don’t see any problems with E-surance’s risktaking. They were betting on the ever present desire for money present in most Americans and their ad ended up being a huge success. I would even go as far to say that there was barely any risk involved at all. Personally, I don’t use Twitter, so I wouldn’t be able to give any real examples of Twitter frenzy or Twitter fails. However, what does come to my mind is President Trump’s moniker, the Twitter President. Basically everything he does upsets the public, but I still think that he considers his tweets successful, since they bring awareness to specific situations and publicity for himself.

  3. John,
    I agree that self-censorship is a must for any business professional or graduating college student looking for their next endeavor. We have all heard the horror stories of employers looking at applicants’ social media pages prior to the interview process. I know this article focuses on twitter, but it’s also interesting that snickers is doing a live commercial during the Super Bowl, talk about risk!

    – Cailein

  4. I think the risk that Esurance took (with the commercial’s potential to meet the eyes and ears of fewer people) was a genius one. As stated in beginning of the article, it seems that everyone is on Twitter these days, and it is a powerful platform for a quick, widespread distribution of information. Because of this, even if fewer people saw this commercial, I can guarantee that with a promise of ‘no-strings-attached, tons of free money’ that the Esurance commercial was offering, the majority of people who did see the commercial probably acted fast. The viewers wouldn’t have even had to put in anymore effort than to get out their phones, open the Twitter app, and then tweet “#EsuranceSave30.” So WITHOUT A DOUBT tons of viewers went straight to their phones after they saw the commercial and started tweeting. The genius-ness, then, is that all of the other Twitter users who happened to be on Twitter around the time and after the commercial aired- who might not have seen the commercial- would have seen the trending tweets- “#EsuranceSave30”- and they would have caught onto the fact that Esurance was giving away 30% of what they saved/1.5 million dollars! Then, a light bulb would have gone off in these non-commercial-viewers’ heads as they pondered about Esurance (and what it was) and then they too would’ve tweeted “#EsuranceSave30.” Then, this chain reaction would continue as more tweeters saw the tweet, realized what it was, and then they too would tweet “#EsuranceSave30.” So, yes, Esurance’s risk was definitely worth it, because in no time, a substantial amount of people would know about Esurance and the giveaway thanks to the power of Twitter.

  5. John,
    I think Esurance definitely took a risk because of the extremely high prices of a Super Bowl commercial. Like you’ve written, it could have easily not reached as many people and their commercial would not have gotten them as a trending topic on Twitter. They obviously made the right choices in how they produced the commercial because it was a success and Esurance trended on Twitter. I had not heard of the Carrie Fisher tweet prior to reading this but I think that i is a great example of when Twitter can become dangerous for a brand. I would look down upon any brand, but especially a larger one like Cinnabon, for not even taking the time to think through the content of that tweet. It was not only insensitive but also sounded inappropriate. So, both the Esurance and Cinnabon example show how Twitter could definitely hurt or help your brand. I believe it’s all according to how a business owner takes control of the tweet, commercial, etc. and its content, that will determine its success or downfall.

  6. John, there’s no doubt advertising using the social media medium can be a slippery slope, and I do agree that Twitter especially has the ability to alter a company’s reputation based on what it tweets. However, I do believe in today’s society we tend to “forget” about things rather quickly and move on to whatever else may serve as the controversial topic of the day. For instance, Cinnabon’s handling of Carrie Fisher’s death may have been received in poor taste by some, but it more than likely will already have been forgotten about by most of the general public and will most likely not effect a large number of peoples’ decisions on whether or not to enjoy a sweet, warm cinnamon bun in the near future.

    • Noah,
      I agree with your opinion of societies tendency to forgive and forget issues, while having the immediate outcry of anger over the situation. Time and time again issues that do not directly impact individuals are easier to bandwagon on the short term outcry because it is what is popular in the moment. Meaning that when everyone is upset about something it is convenient to slightly educate oneself with the issue to be able to join in to the protest. Then when everyone moves on to the next trending topic, the negative association one has with the product dissolves. I do think the outcry that consumers have when things aren’t quite right or ethical with a product or advertisement does show, however that society and individuals have a moral compass, even if just for a few days.
      In regards to the Esurance commercial, I think it was a very smart marketing move, because they invested much less by having it right after the super bowl, but by getting the audience directly involved had people talking about their business long after the advertisement ended.

  7. After hearing the first 10 seconds of the commercial I had the same reaction… “What!” Because typically after a team scores the winning touchdown the T.V. gets turned off, the wings get thrown out, and everyone calls it a night especially for those whose team lost. But I think they made a smart move taking that risk by throwing a well liked actor into the mix, that would have been what kept my focus before turning the t.v. off. As for Twitter I’m actually not a huge fan, I went through a phase in college but got sick of only being allowed to type a certain amount of characters and quickly deleted it. However, from watching the news and various media outlets it’s crazy to see how useful twitter has become for people, businesses, products etc. I think twitter is extremely useful when it comes to branding or releasing breaking news, however, I don’t think it works when our president is trying to put out a message it seems informal and “Hollywood-ish” it just doesn’t seem like the proper platform for political matters.

  8. John,

    You are right, social media is a helpful tool, but it can also be hurtful depending on how it is used. Using social media as an advertising forum definitely impacts the brand that is advertising. Either that brand receives backlash or praise and an influx of business. I did not find the Carrie Fisher tweet insensitive. After all, her Princess Leia hairdo is one of the main things Fisher was famous for. Also, I don’t think the tweet would have offended Fisher because she was known to have a sense of humor about life and death. In fact, she was once interviewed and quoted as saying, “I am Princess Leia, no matter what. If I were trying to get a good table, I wouldn’t say I wrote Postcards. Or, if I’m trying to get someone to take my check and I don’t have ID, I wouldn’t say, ‘Have you seen Harry Met Sally?’ Princess Leia will be on my tombstone.”

  9. I agree with the fact that large companies advertising to a large market should always censor the information they are releasing to the public. With a market as large as Cinnabon has, never should they release a commercial that has any chance of offending or disrespecting a customer. This error cost Cinnabon a large amount of money and could of been avoided if they would of censored the information they released.

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