The 5 best real-time marketing moments of the Super Bowl

It’s over. The Super Bowl itself wasn’t exactly competitive — but that was just the action on the field. Off the field brands fought tooth and nail for the attention of over 100 million Americans tuned in to the game. The problem was there was no blackout or seminal moment that presented itself.

Actually, it often seemed like brands were too busy tweeting at each other. In perhaps the most disturbing development yet for real-time marketing, brand-on-brand action was endemic. There was Coors Light bantering with JC Penney, Party City chatting up White Castle, and Domino’s going at it with Ford. The biggest knock on real-time marketing is that it seldom amounts to more than a few social media managers talking to each other. This brand-on-brand action was not a good look.

But we didn’t come to bury real-time marketing (in this post), but to praise (some of) it. Here are our choices for moments of the night, culminating in our choice for the best. (Note: We don’t differentiate between things planned in advance but executed during the event. In the end, the distinction is irrelevant, since the goal is to take advantage of a moment in time.)

5. Oreo. Discretion is the better part of valor. Oreo knew it caught lightning in a bottle last year, so it did what’s very difficult: It skipped the game. (Other brands did this, but they didn’t have the street cred of @Oreo in the real-time game.) Oreo announced this with a classic mic-drop tweet before the game even started.

4. JC Penney.  The retailer has had a tough time of it of late. But it’s having some nice marketing moments. First, it’s “Go Liggety” ad for the Olympics is getting great buzz. And during the game, Penney pulled a great feat: It was able to simultaneously make fun of real-time marketing while benefiting from it. The retailer started in the second quarter to send out nonsensical tweets like this that made many wonder if a social media intern had taken a few too many trips to the beer cooler. Turns out it was just a ploy to promote its “Go” mittens. Nice play.

3. Newcastle. The beer has gotten great mileage out of not advertising during the Super Bowl. It continued to do so by basically trolling other brands who did pony up the $4 million for a Super Bowl ad slot. Well-played.

2. Hillary Clinton. The presumptive presidential candidate was a dark horse. Politicians have stayed above the real-time fray up to this point. But the former Secretary of State pounced in the third quarter with a gem of a tweet that took aim at Fox, although you could quibble that her real beef is more specifically with Fox News. Anyway, the tweet resonated, earning some 40,000 retweets.

1. DiGiorno Pizza. Our pre-game favorite to have an “@Oreo moment,” the sometimes deranged pizza chain didn’t disappoint. Run by the digital agency Resource, @digiornopizza kept up a regular banter until the third quarter, when the game got out of hand and it saw a chance to strike with a couple very funny tweets, including one that was retweeted over 11,000 times. DiGiorno entered the game with 55,000 followers, making this feat far more impressive than Clinton’s canned tweet that went out to 1.1 million followers. Congrats, @digiornopizza. We knew you wouldn’t let us down!

For our full live coverage of the good and bad, check out our live blog.

UPDATE: We overlooked Buffalo Wild Wings, which like DiGiorno’s leaped into the fray when the game turned into a total blowout. This tweet proved extremely popular and, as a bonus, tied into Buffalo Wild Wing’s commercial schtick, which is that it has a secret button to prolong games. As of this morning, the tweet got 30,000 RTs. If we had to do it again, we’d slot this at No. 3, since Buffalo Wild Wings has nearly 350,000 followers. A belated kudos.