How Miller Lite And Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizza Won The Oscars Without Even Trying

Which brand had its “Oreo moment” during the Oscars? Pizza Hut tried, but Southern California’s Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria and Miller Lite won — and neither were even trying to. It’s a lesson that brands need to be ready for anything, just as much trying to “newsjack” an event.


These days, it’s all the rage for brands to be watching for an opportunity to newsjack a moment during a live event, to have a tweet that resonates with the audience watching on TV.

Oreo best illustrates this, when its now famous tweet during the Super Bowl 2013 blackout gained a huge amount of retweets. This year, Arby did even better with a joke about Pharrell Williams wearing an Arby’s-like hat.

During this year’s Academy Awards, Pizza Hut sensed an opportunity when host Ellen DeGeneres joked about getting pizza for the audience:

With less than 1,000 retweets, that’s well below the hits that Oreo (about 15,000 retweets) or Arby’s (about 80,000 retweets) had.

In contrast, two brands had natural moments handed to them. First up: Big Mama’s & Papa’s, which is the chain that actually was called upon to deliver pizza to the Oscars.

Are You Ready For Your Pizza?

When the pizza came, it was delivered by a real employee from the chain who, led by Ellen, started passing out the slices:

Ellen’s show apparently regularly orders pizza from the chain. But when it happened for the Oscars, no one from the chain seemed to be expecting it.

It took about 30 minutes from when the pizza first arrived until Big Mama’s & Papa’s made a tweet about it (which currently has about 500 retweets):

But once it woke up, the chain’s social media account quickly harvested pictures it’ll be using for years — that of celebrities at the Oscars eating its slices. Here, Harrison Ford reaches for piece:

  Brad Pitt doesn’t hold back:

But some celebrities themselves shared the love. Here, Kerry Washington posted a picture eating the pizza on Instagram, which gained over 40,000 likes there:

That picked up over 1,000 retweets when it hit was posted to Twitter.

The biggest hit was Corinne Foxx, daughter of Jamie Foxx, sharing having a slice next to her father. That currently has over 26,000 tweets:

A Miller Lite With That Pizza?

Toward the end of the show, in his Best Actor acceptance speech, Matthew McConaughey made a reference to his father having been a Miller Lite drinker.

Miller Lite hadn’t been tweeting much during the show. But when it got the shout out, it called back with a tweet about being the beer of award winning actors’ fathers, gaining about 2,000 tweets so far:

No Night Off For Brands?

Maybe it will turn out, when the final numbers are crunched, that there was some brand that did newsjack and gain retweets higher that Miller Lite, which are the highest we spotted from a brand during the Oscars.

But perhaps the real brand lesson from the Oscars is that no one has the night off with live events. Even if you’re not trying to newsjack an event, your product (or an opportunity) might make an unexpected appearance.

Poland Spring Water, for example, wasn’t planning for Senator Marco Rubio to reach for a bottle of its water during his rebuttal to the 2013 State Of The Union. But that happened out-of-the-blue, just as Big Mama’s and Papa’s had its Oscar moment this year.

Now here’s the pizza delivery at Oscars, for those who missed it:

That was posted on Big Mama’s and Papa’s YouTube account. If the clip gets pulled, as it’s unofficial, we’ll try to find an official one (there aren’t any, at the moment).

And here’s the delivery guy arriving back at the store, after his big night out:

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Features & Analysis | Oscars | Top News


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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