JC Penney’s social media Super Bowl work sparked a real-time Twitter bicker as brands battled with one another in search of their own ‘Oreo – Dunk In The Dark’ moment.
But while the game was uneventful and the lights stayed on at New Jersey’s Meadowland’s stadium, it was a dark day for marketing in general as brands were reduced to squabbling with one another on social media in a game of Twitter social media one-upmanship which made many of them look like kids.
The Twitter Bicker Battle began when giant retailer JC Penney began to attract online attention through a pair of apparently clumsily written, misspelled tweets relating to a couple of incidents early in the game.
One JC Penney post read ‘Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh5_0’, while a follow-up tweet said ‘Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???’‘
Observers were quick to pounce on the nonsensical tweets with some claiming that the person managing the Twitter account was either drunk or had been hacked. Kia Motors tweeted: “Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver”, while Coors Light posted: “.JCPenney We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly”.
The department store’s riposte to the online tidal wave of sniping comments and mocking marketers was to reveal that its misspelled tweets had been part of a tactical plan – which it unveiled in a further tweet.
‘Oops…Sorry for the typos. We were #TweetingWithMittens. Wasn’t it supposed to be colder? Enjoy the game!’
This post, which referenced the pre-game hype surrounding whether the cold weather would turn the Super Bowl into the Snow Bowl (the NFL’s big game is very rarely played in a roofless stadium in the North East of the US largely to avoid the risk of bad weather spoiling the Big Game’), came with a photograph of the mittens which turned out to be JC Penney TEAM USA mittens and thus a plug for its Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic clothing range.
The tweet generated more than 31,000 retweets and 11,800 favourites.
The game’s lack of genuine action-related talking point, Seattle thrashed Denver, drive brands to simply turn on each other like kids in a playground to try and spark conversation and generate social traction.
Brands mocking JC Penney weren’t the only ones to chide other real time marketing teams and competitor social activity.
Jaguar, for example, took a swipe at Maserati’s Super Bowl TV spot (featuring Quvezhane Wallis)
for its new Ghiblu ad
with a mocking the tweet: ‘Did you know that #ghibli means hot air? Seems appropriate. CC: Maserati_HQ #GoodToBeBad’.
Jaguar’s real time social team were clearly trying to spoil a premium auto brand competitor’s ad to portray its own blockbuster Super Bowl spot in a better light.
While, Doritos and telecoms firm Verizon also exchanged playful chiding tweets during the game.
Doritos mocked another brand’s social output as it aimed to gain further traction for its own, long running ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ campaign.
The first consumer-created spot from the perennial Super Bowl snack advertiser delivered a neatly produced, humour-led ‘Time Machine’ commercial – which had the underlying message that Doritos crisps are so tasty that they entice youngsters into a world of crime.
Whilst the second winner of the brand’s ongoing Crash the Super Bowl consumer-created commercial contest, ‘Cowboy Kid’ was another cutesy child-focused ad featuring a competition between siblings when their mom announces she needs help with the groceries and incentivises them with the promise of Doritos treats.
For a few seconds it might seem tactically smart to fire off a clever, critical response mocking a competitor’s commercial, or to pour social scorn on other marketers that look like they have made mistakes – but surely this is the strategy of the schoolyard.
In the long term this is a disastrous strategy, as consumers will surely rapidly tire of this kind of tactical Twitter tit-for-tat and disengage from a marketing world that spends more time trying to get one over on one another and less time trying to enhance the spectators’ event-related experience.
Marketing may indeed actually end up eating itself.
Maserati Super Bowl TVC YouTube
Jaguar Super Bowl TVC YouTube
Doritos Crash The Super Bowl Website