Oreo, Audi & Walgreens Newsjack Super Bowl “Blackout Bowl”

Thanks to super-fast reactions, at least three brands were able to “newsjack” the power outage that hit the Super Bowl early in the third quarter of today’s game.

With the Ravens up by a score of 28-6, and a 49ers third-down play just about to begin, the lights inside the stadium went out, causing a somewhat lengthy delay that’s still ongoing as I type this.

Several brands saw the power outage as a chance to market themselves in clever ways on Twitter, which is no doubt experiencing new, all-time usage levels for a sporting event.

Oreo, which ran a commercial earlier in the TV broadcast that promoted its Instagram account, reacted quickly with this brilliant power outage-related tweet that’s been retweeted and favorited thousands of times in only about 15 minutes:


Audi, another Super Bowl TV advertiser, also reacted quickly with a tweet that took a jab at Mercedes-Benz (@MBUSA), its competitor that holds the naming rights to the Superdome. It’s also been faved and retweeted several thousand times:


And Walgreens, which so far hasn’t aired a TV commercial during the game, posted a couple tweets that played off the power outage:



Those have also had thousands of retweets and favorites from Twitter.

That’s quick response from some major brands, and a good way to “newsjack” a huge event like the Super Bowl — especially the Oreo example, which is just brilliant on all counts. (Newsjacking is a term popularized by David Meerman-Scott to describe the process of inserting your thoughts/ideas into breaking news events.)

Postscript: In the comments below, on Twitter, and via email, several other examples have been shared with us. I’m not sure that all examples of a brand that tweeted about or during the blackout are “newsjacking,” but here are a few more that are worth including (and thanks to all who shared these with us):

PBS Television








ONE Campaign








Seattle Police Department


As you can see, some of these resonated on Twitter much more than others. The Seattle Police Department’s tweet captured much more engagement than Hyundai tweeting out its Super Bowl commercial and Cars.com tweeting about its commercial, for example. (The “c-link” reference in the Seattle PD tweet is a reference to the nickname for Century Link Field, the Seahawks’ home stadium.)

No doubt this “blackout bowl” episode and all the attempts at newsjacking will be the subject of countless articles, studies and presentations in the future.

Related Topics: Branding | Channel: Strategy | Social Media Marketing | Super Bowl | Top News | Twitter


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://twitter.com/miksas MikSas

    Sharpie, the marker company, got one zinger too http://twitpic.com/c0qwzw *ThumbsUp*

  • http://twitter.com/atul Atul Arora
  • JLishere

    My favorite tweet was from the official SimCity account: “Looks like the #SuperBowl electricians can learn a thing about proper power management.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kdando Kevin Dando

    Was happy about the reaction to the tweet we did: https://twitter.com/PBS/status/298246111460720642 (almost 5K retweets and favorites)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514971532 Dennis Everette

    “Blackout Bowl”? We need to see who came up with that first, you, or my facebook status from about 7:15 (Mountain Time). :-)

  • Matt McGee

    Thanks for the links and suggestions, folks. Just added several more above.

  • Kenkmooo

    Those guys really do seem to know what they are talking about. WOw.


  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I think the Audi one is really clever. It’s a quiet way to poke fun at the competition and get everyone’s attention at the same time. PBS had a pretty great quip as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005050302044 Shofik Cit

    Several brands saw the power outage as a chance to market.Sharpie, the marker company, got one zinger too

  • Jeremy
  • http://twitter.com/JuicedMediaGuy Juiced Marketing

    The best, IMO, was someone creating a twitter account for the super bowl lights @theSBLights and posting that they were embarassed. Quite comical. http://juicedmarketing.com

  • http://nertzy.com Grant Hutchins

    If you haven’t heard, #SodaStream requires no electricity. #fizz on friends! #NoPowerOutageProblems #SuperBowl47


    Great reaction after having to censor their Super Bowl ad.

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