From Vegas to Madison Avenue, everyone was looking to get in on some Super Bowl action. For marketers, that means standing out from the crowd. To accomplish these two things, JCPenney thought it would be a good idea to send out fake drunk tweets.
After thousands of retweets, giggles, and WTFs, the retailer came clean and admitted it was part of a whole #TweetingWithMittens hashtag stunt.
A spokesperson for the shop, Kate Coultas, says, “We knew Twitter would be very active but wanted to find a way to stay above the Super Bowl fray and instead create our own narrative. Given it was cold, and we are selling Go USA mittens — we thought it could be a fun stunt!”
Buzzfeed notes that JCPenney was in search of its “Oreo moment”; that instance where marketing and Twitter collide in a perfect storm and create rainbows and sunshine of branding magic. Oreo pulled it off during last year’s Super Bowl when the lights unexpectedly went out. But this, alas, is not an “Oreo moment.”
The beauty of Oreo’s Twitter surprise was the spontaneity of it. No one expected the lights to go out, but they had a team at the ready. On the fly, they came up with the “dunk in the dark” image. It didn’t just get a lot of attention and slow claps because it was kind of clever, but because it was genuinely an out-of-nowhere yet spot-on response.
JCPenney’s on the other hand elicited giggles for what people thought it was: someone who had a few too many beers and the reigns for the corporate Twitter handle. When you learn that it was planned the whole time, it’s a let down.
As we noted earlier today, JCP gets a Super Bowl win because, for many people, attention is attention. But if you take a look at the numbers, when people thought something embarrassing was happening, the tweet got nearly 20K retweets. The big reveal didn’t even make it to 3,900. The value of the stunt didn’t even last through the “gotcha” moment.
JCP tried to continue with the mittens meme with Doritos and Snickers, but those fell flatter. Instead, it’s the response tweets, like Kohl’s link to texting gloves, that seem more innovative.
The Super Bowl is so crowded that brands are forced to look for different ways to make an impact. But part of the problem with a lot of the ads and branding this year was they tried too hard. The attempts to be quirky/snarky/sentimental/amusing were so forced they fell flat.