Updated: When half of the Superdome plunged into darkness during the third quarter of the Super Bowl, the CBS broadcast booth fell silent. After a commercial break and a little fumbling around, CBS sideline reporter Steve Tasker took over the biggest TV show of the year. At the same time, a handful of brands took to their Twitter accounts, capitalizing on one of the most bizarre moments in Super Bowl history.
The first that I saw — and arguably the overall winner of the night — was Oreo:
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
The agency behind the brilliant move was 360i. “We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity,” agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. “Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes.”
Oreo wins the social TV award of the night in our book. Earlier, the brand was the first Super Bowl advertiser to end their commercial with a plug to Instagram.
Over on PBS, the extremely popular Downton Abbey was airing on the East Coast.
If you listen closely, you can hear wives across the country using the power outage to convince their husbands to switch to Downton Abbey.
— Jon Acuff (@jonacuff) February 4, 2013
And quick-thinking PBS capitalized on it:
— PBS (@PBS) February 4, 2013
Meanwhile, brands quickly scrambled to buy a key Twitter search term:
It took just four mins after the lights went out for the first Twitter advertiser to bid on [power outage] as a search term. #SuperBowl47
— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) February 4, 2013
Several other brands posted witty tweets during the blackout:
Sending some LEDs to the @mbusa Superdome right now…
— Audi (@Audi) February 4, 2013
We do carry candles. #SuperBowl
— Walgreens (@Walgreens) February 4, 2013
— Calvin Klein (@CalvinKlein) February 4, 2013
— Revolution (@NBCRevolution) February 4, 2013
— Tide (@tide) February 4, 2013
And one of our favorites…
We just really don’t want football season to end. Can you blame us?
— Buffalo Wild Wings (@BWWings) February 4, 2013
You may remember that Buffalo Wild Wings TV spot when fans want to keep the game going, so bartenders signaled the grounds crew to turn on the sprinklers during the game. This time, they turned out the lights.
Others weighed in during the blackout as well…
Green Bay Press Gazette’s Amy Bailey:
Katrina is pissed. Attention must be paid. #SuperBowl
— Amy Bailey (@Amy__Bailey) February 4, 2013
LA Times’s Steven Zeitchik:
This is a big Walking Dead stunt, isn’t it? #SuperBowl
— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) February 4, 2013
Indiewire’s Jay Fernandez:
Something tells me this would not be happening if Kathryn Bigelow were directing this thing. #Superbowl
— Jay A. Fernandez (@Writer730) February 4, 2013
Reason’s Garrett Quinn:
Omar coming’ #superbowl
— Garrett Quinn (@GarrettQuinn) February 4, 2013
Reuters’ Piya Sinha-Roy:
— Piya Sinha-Roy (@PiyaSRoy) February 4, 2013
— A. Brinkley (@AdrianBrinkley) February 4, 2013
TV officially needs a “fail whale” screen for blackouts. Shall we launch a new Shorty category for best brand reaction to #blackout?
— Shorty Awards (@shortyawards) February 4, 2013