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How to Turn an Unexpected Event into a Positive Brand Opportunity
By: Heather Ewert
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It happened out of nowhere. Beyoncé had just finished her high-energy performance and everyone who watched was engrossed in the electric energy of the Super Bowl. And then...the power went out. Brands that had paid upward of $4 million to have a coveted advertising slot during the big game were now faced with a big problem: Who was going to see their message now?  
But a few household names were already on top of innovative solutions.  
Bud Light utilized the promoted tweet feature to ensure that their messages were read: Anyone who searched for power outage would see their company’s messages at the top of their screen. Tide put their own twist on the situation and offered up a pun: “We can’t get your blackout, but we can get your stains out.” Even PBS was offering advice on alternative programming choices, such as Downton Abbey. (Thanks, PBS.)
Perhaps most loved was Nabisco’s timely harnessing of the potential brand opportunity. Oreo had tweeted a graphic that read “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark” within mere minutes of the blackout. The marketing team apparently had called in community managers, social media experts, strategists, and brand managers, and the whole group was seated together, ready to do damage control. The planning definitely paid off. The cheeky graphic was retweeted more than 10,000 times in an hour, and marketing blogs have been hailing it as a wonderful example of a successful branding opportunity. While there has been some backlash, the overall reception has been fantastic.
While I think it’s important to harness the power of social media, particularly in situations like the Super Bowl blackout, it isn’t always feasible for smaller companies to utilize the unexpected for a boost in publicity. However, it is important for brands to be aware of the dynamicity required in mastering social media. When the chance presents itself, thinking creatively can often lead to a successful branding opportunity.


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About the Author
Heather Ewert is a content writer for an internet marketing company. She enjoys creative writing as well and blogs in her personal time at http://infernoofcool.wordpress.com/. She lives in sunny Southern California with her boyfriend, Snowshoe kitty, and her collection of Warcraft novels.
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