The world praised Oreo last year when it “won” the Super Bowl with that clever tweet that “newsjacked” the Super Bowl, and many brands have tried to replicate Oreo’s success since then during events that capture the nation’s (and world’s) attention.
But as brands continue to adopt real-time marketing, there’s always a risk of going too far and potentially alienating some consumers.
That seems to be the case with Monday night’s college football BCS title game. Florida State beat Auburn with a thrilling, last-minute touchdown that wrapped up what a lot of sports fans say was one of the best football games they’ve seen.
And that’s when Denny’s Restaurants got clever on Twitter.
Shortly after the game ended, Denny’s tweeted a message to Auburn fans telling them they still have “47 chances to win on the way home” from Pasadena (where the game was played), and offering a map of all the Denny’s locations they’d pass on the drive home.
If it’s any consolation Auburn fans, there are 47 chances to win on the way home. #BCSChampionship #BCS pic.twitter.com/2HZbH3kpsY
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) January 7, 2014
As you can see, the tweet has thousands of favorites and retweets and I’m in the group of people that thinks this is a borderline brilliant case of newsjacking. Not quite Oreo-level, but still very clever and obviously effective. (Surely no other Denny’s tweet has had 6,000+ retweets, right?)
Many have praised Denny’s for the tweet. CBS Sports called it “hilarious” (along with a tweet from Charmin) and Mashable says Denny’s won the BCS championship. Other Twitter users called it spectacular, brilliant, and very, very smart. The Guyism website said Denny’s hit a grand slam.
But not everyone came away with such a good taste in their mouths.
Yahoo Sports said Denny’s was trolling Auburn fans:
Denny’s trolled #Auburn fans on Twitter after Monday’s loss. (PHOTO) http://t.co/YvjQDx8QhZ
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 8, 2014
The “troll” response was mentioned more than once. A site called The Sports Quotient called it the biggest low blow of 2014 (never mind that it’s the first week of January). Others said it was not a cool promo, and at least one Twitter reply slapped Denny’s back by saying eating there would only make Auburn fans feel worse.
Social media consultant Mack Collier may have summed up the debate best on Facebook with this commentary about the risk/reward of being clever while possibly turning off potential customers.
It’s a fine line that brands walk as they wade (or dive, as the case may be) into the waters of social media and real-time marketing. With the Super Bowl just a couple weeks away, we’ll all be watching which brands do it right and which ones don’t.