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Top 5 Super Bowl Moments in Digital Marketing

In the world of marketing, the Super Bowl is the ultimate platform for brands to get their audiences engaged. It has turned into more than ‘just commercials’; brands are flooding their audiences with campaigns from TV ad spots, tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook posts. Some campaigns get all the attention, and others fall flat.

Here are some top moments from past years, as well as our favorite from this year’s Super Bowl 50:

#5. Audi Uses the First Hashtag in a Super Bowl Ad

2011 – Super Bowl XLV


Audi created the first 60-second TV spot that used a hashtag for Super Bowl marketing – #ProgressIs. Viewers who used the hashtag and the URL in their tweets were entered into a contest, the grand prize of which was a trip to Sonoma, California and a test drive with Audi – among other things. Although this hashtag didn’t make the “trending” list on Twitter, Audi saw a huge spike in their followers – about a 47% increase. The increase was at the same time as their YouTube teaser campaigns, and this showed that audiences were engaged in the campaign.

#4. JC Penney Super Bowl Mittens

 2014 – Super Bowl XLVIII


During the game, J C Penney tweeted numerous times with egregious typos. There was a lot of buzz around these miss-spelled tweets. Were they drunk? Did they get hacked?

This never occurred to the company when they were planning their campaign. In reality, the tweets were a part of the ongoing JCPenney campaign for the Olympics – they had “Go Team USA” mittens. The original plan was to tweet a few of these erroneous quips, following up with the hashtag #tweetingwithmittens. Although not interpreted how they were intended, the two jumbled tweets along with the hashtag generated 46,951 retweets and 21,357 favorites. Their brand got a lot of attention and this was a widely talked about digital marketing moment for Super Bowl XLVII.

#3.   Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever” campaign

 2014 – Super Bowl XLVIII


The cast of the “Up for Whatever” campaign attracted huge attention from the public, as it featured 5 rock stars, 4 celebrities, and 412 actors. #upforwhatever was a top trending hashtag, also used on three highly shareable videos which received more than 1 million views and 55k Facebook likes within 72 hours.

These videos posed the question to viewers, as well as their star studded cast, “Are you #UpforWhatever ?

#2. Oreo Dunk Tweet

 2013 – Super Bowl XLVII


The Super Bowl, in 2013, had a temporary electrical blackout, and the Oreo marketing team quickly jumped on this opportunity with their ad, which must have been made as a snap decision and put together literally during the Super Bowl.

“You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” got nearly 15k retweets, more than 20k likes on Facebook, and is a great example of real-time marketing.


#1. New Super Bowl Moment

2016  – Super Bowl 50


Esurance promoted a contest this year where viewers could tweet and retweet for a chance to win up to $1 million.

Their hashtag, #EsuranceSweepstakes, trended nationally for 15 minutes, and generated 9k tweets per minute last night. In fact, Esurance ranked #1 on Spreadfast’s first quarter Super Bowl data, with 375k tweets.

The Super Bowl has been, and continues to be one of the largest marketing and advertising opportunities for companies advertising in the US. Being different and coming up with new and engaging ideas is the challenge facing these brands year after year, and with all that competition, this list was only able to mention a few of the best, most buzz-worthy campaigns. Check out other Super Bowl ads on YouTube, and remember to tune in every year for these great ads – and also the game.


For more on these digital marketing moments:\