Can Twitter replace the Super Bowl ad?


This screen shot provided by Hyundai shows the Super Bowl advertisement by Hyundai Motor Group's Kia. In the advertisment, Kia invents a fanciful way that babies are made, blasting in from a baby planet in its "Space babies" ad for the 2014 Sorento crossover. (AP Photo/Hyundai) (Uncredited/AP)
February 4, 2013

During the blackout at the Superdome, several companies grabbed a moment in the sun by turning their promotional efforts to Twitter.

Oreo and its ad firm 360i took the prize for the night, moving quickly to let users know they can still nibble on cookies regardless of your power situation with an ad encouraging people to “dunk in the dark.” PBS, which was airing a new episode of “Downton Abbey” against the Super Bowl, reminded viewers “#WeHaveDowntonPBS.”

So while millions of dollars flashed before the eyes of every Super Bowl viewer last night, companies that sank all that cash into traditional spots may have been annoyed to hear that some of the buzziest ad moments of the night never even made it to air.

Yet while social media shone in that impromptu moment, Twitter is not yet ready to take over completely for the glitzy, overblown Super Bowl ad, said Bill Day of the ad analysis firm Magid Associates.

Twitter is perfect for those impromptu moments, when smart brands will move to capi­tal­ize off a single moment.

“Having a social media strategy on hand, a good staff on hand, is fantastic,” he said. But — for the most part — brands still need the full, mass-media presence of television to get the level of traction that Oreo grabbed. Its tweet was reshared more than 15,000 times by Monday afternoon.

The cookie brand also had a normal ad run during the Super Bowl, which he believes gave the company’s tweet the extra boost it needed to go viral. Other brands that tweeted about the Super Bowl included Calvin Klein, which played off the content of its TV ad by posting a Vine video of a male model working out in his designed skivvies.

Even Walgreens, which received more than 3,000 reshares for a cheeky tweet reminding users that they stock candles, had been actively participating in the #SuperBowl conversation on Twitter ahead of its blackout commentary.

“You should have people to capi­tal­ize on social media,” Day said. “But don’t count on it.”

Advertisers may also want to think twice about posting their ads online ahead of the game, said Day, who spent the game monitoring conversations from 400 nationwide viewers giving real-time opinions on ads.

Day said that ads leaked online didn’t do any better than those that weren’t unwrapped until airtime. Consumers still reacted most to the quality of an ad, he said, regardless of whether they had familiarity with it or not.

He also cautioned that advertisers shouldn’t get so caught up in making an entertaining ad that they end up eclipsing their brand message. For example, the Kia ad where a father launches into a (big-budget) explanation of where babies come from got the most response when the company actually showed one of the car’s features — a voice-activated music player. Most consumers who like the ad told Magid that was the moment they wanted to buy the car — but Day said that after the game, many couldn’t remember who had made the ad.

He praised Kia for a good ad that showed a concrete feature, but said it should have worked harder to highlight its brand.

“If you’re going to spend that much money on airtime, it should be working as hard as possible,” he said.

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Bloomberg: Samsung no longer top mobile-phone maker in U.S.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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