How I “Watched” the Super Bowl on Social Media

Posted by | February 4th, 2013

Everything I needed to know about last night's Super Bowl XLVII I learned from social media. 

Considering the fact that the Falcons fell to the 49ers, I chose not the watch the Super Bowl last night. I figured if there were any good ads I missed, I could catch them online. Well, as it turns out, I didn't even need to be watching it in order to understand what was happenning–in real time. All of my Facebook friends and the people I follow on Twitter were giving me the play-by-play, and not just of the plays. The Ravens held down a lead throughout the entire game, Beyonce was awesome, everyone was grossed out by the GoDaddy commercial, the Superdome experienced a power outage in the middle of the third quarter, and everyone took to social media to air their jokes and commentary about everything that was happening.

The power outage being a particularly unique incident during the Super Bowl, many celebrities and brands were tweeting about the situation, making jokes and turning hashtags like #superbowlblackout and #superbowlpoweroutage into trending topics on Twitter. Not only did the blackout give us something to talk about online, it also gave us an oppotunity to take ownership. Not unlike the Mars Rover adapting a popular sarcastic Twitter handle of its own, the Superdome lights now also has a Twitter with nearly 2,000 followers already. 

Brands especially saw the blackout as a situation around which they could create content that active social media users were sure to see and understand, during a time when social media websites (mostly Twitter) peak in traffic.

One of the most powerful aspects of effective marketing is being in the same place as your audience–at the same time. In this case, brands like Oreo and Tide saw millions of Super Bowl fans turn to social media to discuss the blackout, and they simply decided to join the conversation. According to the statistics, at 14,000 retweets, Oreo is particularly popular in the social conversation. Looking back on how rapidly football fans, and then brands jumped on the topic of the blackout, the advertising cycle is getting much quicker, and now more than ever it is important for brands to be there for their fans in real time.