Brand Bowl 2013: A Slam Dunk in the Dark


Super Bowl XLVII was arguably one of the most entertaining games in recent history. It had pretty much everything a viewer could ask for: a pair of animated coaches who also happen to be brothers; a great comeback by the 49ers that had everyone on the edge of their seat; a fabulous halftime show brought to you by the Queen B herself; and a 35-minute blackout to boot.
So yes, all that was great – but as marketers, we’re here to discuss more than the entertainment factor. Which advertiser won this year’s Brand Bowl?
During this year’s game, brands chalked up $3.8 million for 30 seconds of precious airtime. Despite being the most expensive ad buy on television, according to the Wall Street Journal, “buying a spot during the big game may be the most efficient play on Madison Avenue.”
Well, Madison Avenue certainly learned a lesson about “efficient plays” last night as the power of social media proved itself. Shortly after the now-infamous blackout began, Oreo took to Twitter with this clever message:
In a move that resulted in more than 15,000 retweets and coverage from dozens of outlets ranging from The Today Show to Forbes to the Huffington Post and beyond, Oreo won the Brand Bowl without spending a penny.
Several other brands apparently had a similar train of thought and quickly posted blackout-themed tweets as well, but Oreo had already won the race.
The episode raises a valid question: will social media marketing eventually overtake traditional advertising, or is it simply a nice way to complement traditional ads when the opportunity presents itself? We’re not predicting that Super Bowl ads will become any less important (or expensive) in the near future, but Oreo’s tweet proves that brands can — and should — use social media to their advantage.
In a world where marketers are constantly connected, events like last night’s blackout present a gold mine of opportunities for brands to engage with their audience directly. Oreo acted quickly, and it paid off – a slam dunk in the dark.

BIG fish PR is an unconventional agency that helps its clients redefine their industries.