Twitter shines as lights go out at Superdome

When it comes to Sunday night’s Super Bowl, chances are it won’t be remembered as the year of the Ravens. Instead, it’s being dubbed the "Night the Lights Went Out in New Orleans."

The Superdome says a circuit breaker sensed an overload and shut down several systems, putting the game on hold for more than 30 minutes. But that dark moment in football history is turning out to be a bright spot for social media.

Take for example Oreo. The company paid an estimated $4 million for a 30-second ad during the game. But when the power went out, it became an unanticipated chance again get its name out there.

“We saw an opportunity, and we quickly developed an image and caption within minutes,” says Oreo’s Vice President of Cookies Lisa Mann.

Oreo was the first advertiser to tweet a response, getting it out in something like four minutes. The tweet featured a pic of a cookie on a darkened background with the caption “You can still dunk in the dark.” 

“I mean it was explosive,” says Jed Williams, senior analyst at ad firm BIA/Kelsey. “It may have been the low point for the SuperBowl, but it was the high mark for the consumption of the event.”

Williams says companies will use last night’s outage as a study in the relationship between Super Bowl ads and social media.

“I think advertisers are going to hardly worry about this,” says JC Bradbury, a sports marketing professor at Kennesaw State University.

Bradbury says don’t expect companies to stop paying those high prices for ads just because of last night’s glitch.

“Television goes out all the time,” says Bradbury. “Television has ways to deal with this. And it’s still one of the most watched programs in the entire country.”

And if an outage happens again, pharmacy chain Walgreens tweeted it’s ready: “We do carry candles.”

About the author

Jim Burress is a reporter for WABE in Atlanta.

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