Social media case study: Super Bowl blackout hands victory to Twitter

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A 35 minute power outage on the pitch at this year's Super Bowl XLVII led to a surge in traffic on social media. The showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers was shut down for 35 minutes when half of the lights in the New Orleans Superdome went out. The resulting confusion led to a surge in traffic on social media sites talking about what became known online as "the blackout bowl." Advertisers were quick to capitalise on the sudden ad space opportunity. Within four minutes of the outage, advertisers had sent out their first tweets 'newsjacking' the event with their own branded take on the story.

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Brand: Oreo, Tide, Audi | Sector: FMCG, Food and Beverage, Automotive, Household goods | Country: US | Objective: Build brand engagement | Format: Twitter, Social Media |


Nabisco's Oreo cookie was among the first to jump on the Twitter brandwagon, with an ad featuring the cookie on a partially blacked out page. "You can still dunk in the dark," it read.

The people behind Tide laundry detergent went up with a Twitter ad that read: "We can't get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out. #SuperBowl #TidePower."


Even Audi took a swipe at its competitor, tweeting that it was sending "LED lights" over to the dome, whose official name is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.


The outage was the No. 1 Twitter-related moment of the Super Bowl, generating 231,000 tweets per minute. The game ended with a thrilling climax, with The Baltimore Ravens beating the San Francisco 49ers in the final seconds.

Twitter tops TV slots

Meanwhile, analysis of the lucrative Super Bowl TV slots showed a shift towards twitter as a branding tool over Facebook.

Website found that
Twitter featured in 26 out of 52 nationally aired advertisements, while Facebook only featured in four, and Google+ was not mentioned at all.

YouTube and Instagram were mentioned once each, according to the website.

In last year’s Super Bowl, Twitter and Facebook tied with only eight mentions each out of a total of 59 advertisements.

For Twitter, the change from eight mentions to 26 represents a gain of more than 300 per cent.
Facebook suffered a 50 per cent drop in mentions, Marketing Land found.

According to recent research, Twitter is now the fastest-growing social network in the world, with almost half a billion people worldwide now having an account.

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