Rating Super Bowl real-time marketing — in real time

The annual slugfest is upon us. Billion dollar corporations will put everything on the line to face off at the Super Bowl this afternoon in a battle for supremacy. There will also be a football game.

Digiday’s editorial team will update this page live throughout the game with brand tweets, good and bad. Check back throughout the day — for updates on the other big game.

UPDATE: The clock has run out. We had a lot of fun. See our choices for the best of the night here.

Fourth Quarter
There are 15 minutes left and the game is all but decided. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping the brands.

Give it up, Tide. Denver is letting the clock run out. You should, too. D

White Castle Mildly entertaining pop culture reference. It could have been worse. C


We get it. Millennials love “Full House” and they use Twitter. D

Pizza Hut
No. Both teams cannot win. That is a logical fallacy. Also, points deducted for the weak pun. F

Victoria’s Secret Thank you for the honesty and a much-needed distraction. Still, tweeting a pre-produced YouTube video requires minimal effort. C-


We appreciate your attempt to be timely and remembering that John Stamos played Uncle Jesse on “Full House” years ago, but you didn’t need to stain your social media manager’s pants for this uninspired tweet. D

McDonald’s  The desperation in this McDonald’s tweet smells like a bunch of fries left underneath a car seat for an untold amount of time. F


Charmin wasted no time chiming in with its typical potty humor. Timely, but disgusting. You’re better than that, Charmin. Actually, no you aren’t. C-

Third Quarter
A brutal beginning to the third quarter: within 12 seconds the Seahawks have another touchdown. Many brands have taken to trolling the Broncos. Let’s see what brands are saying:

Not sure the wording was great on this, Charmin, but potty humor is always appreciated. B

Everyone’s favorite pizza troll combines two real-time events to tweet its latest diss. A

Sad, but probably true?

Hillary Clinton
Damn, Hillary. A+


Priceline is getting into Vine with these truncated six-second commercials. But cute puppetry has been done before. B

This beer company is trolling other brands instead of concentrating on the game. B
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Domino’s Pizza
Pretty cheesy and low, Domino’s, but still kind of funny. B-

Papa John’s

The pizza chain is clearly not aware (or are willing to remain ignorant) that the Seahawks are dominating. A canned halftime tweet? Or disillusionment? F


Here’s a neat M&M reenactment to the touchdown. A

Beats by Dre
Easy. All you have to do is pre-make a sad-face boom box and bam, you have a image that can apply to any sad Super Bowl event. C

Finally, the part of the game for people who don’t care about football — and what a better pairing than Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers?

Clorox Ew! Clorox! Who do you think you are? Charmin? #toiletbowlhumor. F

Hm, Skittles humor. D

Nope, no one who is watching the Super Bowl is going to be randomly looking for places to stay in California. Nice try getting in on that Halftime show convo. D-

Pizza with red pepper flakes and lots of extra cheese. D

This Chobani bear thing is weird and lame. F

Budweiser Puppy
Budweiser puppy is trying to show that it gets Web culture by throwing in Keyboard Cat reference. C

Denny’s is playing the too-cool-for-school card and not going RTM crazy over the Super Bowl — and I really appreciate that and this totally random QVC tweet. A

Beats by Dre
Yup, very creative adding Bruno Mars lyrics to stock product photo. D

Budweiser Puppy
Apparently puppies like Bruno Mars. D

Yellow M&M
Playing dumb in order to come up with a reason to create a Vine. Meh. C

Second quarter

Meme + Marshawn Lynch = this from Skittles. C+

For brands one of the big real-time opportunities of the night so far is coming at JC Penny’s Expense. Unless it’s a sly strategy… B

Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut has JC Penny’s back. B

Few Twitter users appear to agree with Macy’s that David Beckham should cover up. C

Beats included… B

JC Penny
The JC Penny social media team has clearly had a few Bud Lights. A+
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Hot Pockets
Two favorites and two retweets might tell you all you need to know about this Hot Pockets effort. D


It’s like the Budweiser Puppy is watching me… 


Koh’ls is going for boring, predictable, and desperate. D


Sorry, Budweiser puppy, there’s a new pooch in town. For our money, the underdog at Purina is delivering a mildly less nauseating stream of game-day updates. This is an end zone dance we can get behind. C

The brand-on-brand unseemliness refuses to slacken. :(

First quarter

Tide is beginning to sound like the kid at the party you invited out of pity but now won’t stop trying to insinuate himself painfully into every conversation. Ugh, simmer down, Tide. D

Chipotle Here’s an odd retweet from Chipotle:

We’re pretty sure Patton Oswalt — a comic known for his uncompromising and precise wit — was not paying the burrito chain a compliment. This is, after all, the man who called a KFC dish a “failure pile in a sadness bowl.” Chances are he’s not praising Chipotle’s rice-skimping ways. Still, he is in movies and on TV so retweet that insult like the desperate taco you are. D
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Speaking of Domino’s check this tweet out. Hahahaha — very cute, right?

Because “Futbal” = soccer and we we all hate soccer with it’s low scores and fewer concussions. And its only the very beginning of the game, so why is this score so low anyway? While we’re at it, let’s all take a stab at an easy target. The only real sport is American football, right Domino’s? None of this European footsie business. We don’t like Europeans, do we, Domino’s? They invent things like soccer and … what’s that other thing? Pizza? D-

What’s this? Another bit of brand discretion? Guess we won’t be seeing too much Flo during this particular game. This type of tweet is the perfect have-your-Super-Bowl-cake-and-eat-it-too moment. Progressive gets to tweet about the Super Bowl and also winkingly allude to the fact that they know better than to force it. Well played. We see right through you, but well played. B

Aaaaaand we’ve got our first brand-on-brand tweet of the actual game.  Skittles and Starbucks had already set the mood by getting cozy in front of us all. Now here’s Tide and Gain, playing it nice and playing safe. And playing it boring. If you’re going to tweet at a rival, at least have the decency to troll, Tide. C-  

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As I type this, soprano Renée Fleming is singing the national anthem. This is certainly the first high note of the evening. Maybe the last. Speaking of notes, Beats By Dre is already up and tweeting. They want to know if you’ve seen spokesman Richard Sherman’s Super Bowl playlist. After sports, music is probably the ultimate unifying (and divisive) thing. I know I’d be curious to see what’s on Sherman’s playlist, but when I click the link I’m prompted to download the app. The title of the playlist? Straight Outta Compton, fittingly. Too bad this goes straight nowhere from here because I’m not about to download an app just to see an athlete’s playlist. Still, you have my ears, Beats. C+

Coin toss! Brian Braiker here, taking the helm after Brian Morrissey so ably led us through the pre game action. Let’s cut to the chase: How many days in advance had this particular tweet been planned? Take a nap already, puppy. D

And as we’re getting underway here, I feel compelled to ask: who is following Century 21 on Twitter in the first place? Rather, who is paying any attention whatsoever to Century 21’s Twitter feed on Super Bowl Sunday. The effect of this tweet is essentially to say “we are aware there is a big game on today but we have customers in both states and are not even close to picking sides but hey, here’s a terrible, terrible pun!”


The action got started early. Brands have been dropping tantalizing Super Bowl tweets regularly this week, particularly advertisers with a lot riding on the game — looking at you, Pepsi and Budweiser. I’ll be handling the pregame action. Tweet anything notable to @bmorrissey.

Some notable early action: Oreo Whoa. This is the only move to make, but a strong one. How many presidencies have been ruined by second terms. Oreo, for your discretion, yes, you get our first A.

Starbucks-Skittles The rare brand-on-brand action. Smart of Starbucks to channel Skittles, since the Seattle-based coffee brand can’t play it neutral in this game — and Skittles is closely identified with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. Not bad at all. B+

Dunkin Donuts

This looks like the Super Bowl of Vines, particularly stop-motion video. Pretty good timing on this one, and the product shot actually works. Sure it was planned ahead of time, but we’re counting it anyway. B

Pepto Bismal

Let’s face it, any tweet from an anti-diarrhea drug is going to be gross. And yet. This is pretty on point, and you can’t argue with all those wings consumed there’s gonna be quite a few people regretting it in the most direct ways later. B


Ugh. This one tries to cover every possible base in a plea for engagement. D


Wait a second, is there an actual strategy here? Indeed, there does appear to be one. M&Ms has teamed with football legend Joe Montana to do what appear to be some pretty interesting stop-motion videos on Vine during the game. It’s pulling an Old Spice here by making one for a video blogger. Note: Some protest this isn’t “real time,” but the campaign is to react to the game’s events. B+


Talk about a stretch. Send in the drones. F

How should brands handle unexpected tragedies?

The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman won’t stop the Super Bowl and its attendant marketing orgy. But it brings up the question of how do brands handle unexpected tragedies. We asked a brand marketer for thoughts. The marketer’s guidance: 1. Evaluate their current editorial calendar – aka, what’s been posted today and what’s scheduled. 2. Does this trend impact future or previous content (eg should we offer an apology). Remember how the NRA had a very pro gun tweet up the day of and before the Newtown news broke? If they were a normal brand, in light of new current news they’d offer an apology. 3. If it does impact, to what level. I’ve used a simple green, yellow, red system. A national tragedy like Newtown is a “red” – that means stop all posts for some predetermined amount of time. Yellow is something like Mandela. He’s a global icon, but the news wasn’t sudden. People will care. They will be sensitive to what others post. The yellow means pause, evaluate, edit if needed. PSH is probably a green. Most brands aren’t associated with him, his movies, his celebrity, etc. So while people feel bad — I certainly do, he’s a great actor — most brands won’t change their posting strategy.

Chobani Bears are apparently the new monkeys of Super Bowl advertising. Yogurt brand Chobani apparently plans to have its bear tweeting during the game. What could go wrong?

Herbal Essence

More than a bit of a stretch here, shampoo. D


The beer got a lot of mileage out of not advertising in the Super Bowl. Today it took its message to reddit, buying an ad to promote the fact it wasn’t advertising in the Super Bowl. (Let that sink in for a minute.) The ad included a link to a fake ad — again, these are the days we live in — that Newcastle made just for reddit. Points for including doge in the spot. B+

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman passes away.
Reports on WSJ.com have actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman being found dead at his Manhattan apartment. Twitter is currently consumed digesting the news, presenting brands with a dilemma: Do they go ahead with their set pregame social strategy or adjust? Pepsi and Sony are two advertisers that have gone ahead — and of course the Budweiser Puppy.




#FeastMode (playing off the “beastmode” running style of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn  Lynch) is a pretty good hashtag. And this is coming right when people are thinking about what to eat during the game, so why not worry about the cholesterol some other time. B

Looks like the Budweiser Puppy has attracted a troll. Something to keep an eye on.
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Dairy Queen
Contextual. Esoteric, but contextual. C

This puppy is just getting started. Noteworthy for the people who actually responded with woofs. D
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Shows admirable self-awareness. C+

Good grief. Bud is dropping $4 million to run this heartwarming spot about honoring a returning veteran, then it closes with a hashtag that has spaces. Hint: Hashtags can’t have spaces, Anheuser-Busch. The result is confusion. Some are using #salute as the hashtag while others are going with #saluteahero. F for planning.

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TGI Fridays
Ur doing it wrong. F

Pizza Hut
We see what you did there. D-

In case you haven’t heard, Budweiser has already been crowned the winner of the Super Bowl adfest. The style now is to release most of the commercial beforehand because YouTube. It’s tough to argue this on the metric. Budweiser’s Anomaly-created spot, “Puppy Love,” has already gotten 32.8 million views on YouTube and coverage out the wazoo. It’s your typical tearjerker. (For a great rundown on the types of Super Bowl spots, please consult this guide from College Humor.) Naturally, there must be a social component to this commercial — sorry, film — because… Anyway, Budweiser created @budweiserpuppy, a Twitter feed that channels the mind of a small dog. Take a moment of silence for the copywriter, please. This morning, Bud went for the twofer of not working in the Super Bowl but also Groundhog Day. Amazing. We’re giving the Budweiser Puppy, adorability aside, a D for smarminess.

DiGiorno Pizza
We expected no less from our pre-game favorite to execute an Oreo moment. The pretty hilarious Digiorno Pizza Twitter feed, which is actually run by digital agency Resource, came out of the gates strong with a clever little take on “Twas the Night Before Christmas. Let’s give this a B- for creativity and boldness in filling up followers’ feeds with a torrent of messages. Fortune favors the bold, DiGiorno’s!  A sampling:

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