Esurance Super Bowl Giveaway: Real-Time Marketing Triumph or Tragedy

Esurance Super Bowl Giveaway: Real-Time Marketing Triumph or Tragedy

Online MarketingSocial Media

It’s no secret that one of the best parts of the Super Bowl is the commercials. Advertisers know that if their brand is going to be seen by millions of people (111.5 million this year); the commercial has to be original and emotive. However, it seems that the most popular commercials in the past few years have taken the unconventional route and used Twitter, a relatively new form of social media. Last year, Oreo received high praise for tweeting “You can still dunk in the dark” when the power briefly went out at the Superdome. This tweet garnered 10,000 retweets in one hour, and left us all wondering if this was the new wave of high profile marketing.

This year, Esurance took a shot at social media marketing. Instead of buying an ad during the Super Bowl, they chose to show their commercial immediately after the end of the 4th quarter.

Esurance decided to save that money, just as they hope to do for their customers. John Krasinski, a familiar face and charming spokesperson, explained that if you published a tweet using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30, you were eligible to win the money they saved from not purchasing a Superbowl ad, a whopping 1.5 million dollars.

Esurance is certainly receiving the attention it desired, and is getting some of the best post-Super Bowl commercial coverage.  In the first minute after the commercial aired, they received 200,000 tweets. By Monday, they received 2.391 million.  Tweeters can enter as many times as they please, and the winner will be announced Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

While this new form of advertising seems to be worthwhile for the consumer and is hosted on a medium that is free for anyone to use, it does have its drawbacks. One of the toughest parts about advertising on social media is that you no longer control the message- you have given your consumers the reigns, and how they decide to steer it is up to them. Esurance was not specific about what they wanted in their tweets, simply telling their viewers to “go crazy,” which have ultimately led to some backlash.

It has been reported that offensive tweets have been followed with the hashtag #EsuranceSave30, including racist and homophobic remarks. Esurance has created rules and restrictions so these tweets will not win, specifically stating that they “may disqualify entries if the Entry and related tweet includes inappropriate, offensive or other derogatory language or information.” However, whether or not they are disqualified, these tweets will still be visually associated with the Esurance hashtag, which is not the brand image Esurance is trying to obtain.

Using social media is trendy and interactive, but it’s a risk. When you have no control over who enters your content and what type of original content they share, there is always a chance it will not follow your brand image or story, though we are sure Esurance is aware. This contest was never about the tweet as it was about Esurance saying “we want to give this money back to you. We want you to save money.” Their main message was out as soon as the Super Bowl ended, and it will be restated on Jimmy Kimmel, while millions tune in. While there may be slight controversy surrounding the occasional tweet content, Esurance got the publicity it wanted. In their eyes, they’ve already won.

Will this become the norm in modern day advertising? If there is a chance we could win 1.5 million dollars, we sure hope so. May the most good-natured Tweet win!

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