5 Awesome Branded Twitter Plays of 2013

Which companies made the list?

Headshot of Christopher Heine

For the second year in a row, Twitter was the clear-cut conversation vehicle of the online world in 2013, and brands were constantly trying to raise the bar when it comes to capturing real-time engagement. There were huge triumphs and epic #fails along the way—and many more attempts that fell somewhere in between.

While we've already offered a list of major Twitter hiccups, now we'll look at five marketing examples that were noteworthy because of either the buzz they generated or their market-leading innovation.

1. DiGiorno Pizza live-tweets NBC's The Sound of Music Live

The Nestlé brand, along with its agency Resource, almost stole the show from actors Carrie Underwood and Co. when it sent out roughly 40 fun-minded tweets with the hashtag #TheSoundofMusic. The three-hour program turned into a bit of a spectacle on Twitter, and DiGiorno's pitch often perfectly matched the larger public sentiment.

2. Oreo's Super Bowl blackout moment (duh)

Seriously, what else can be said about this effort? Led by 360i, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” garnered more than 32,000 social media likes and shares in just its first hour before snowballing into 525 million impressions in the following days. And it was the consensus tweet of the year. 'Nuff said.

3. British grocery giant breaks into new category with LOLs

Tesco wanted to show British consumers that it was serious about entering the mobile network space, so its @TescoMobile account created engagement with hilarious conversations on Twitter throughout 2013. The brand's exchange with @LiaySummers takes the cake, picking up nearly 20,000 retweets and favorites—that's a pretty big number, folks.

4. History takes real-time branding back 50 years—in a good way

We journos are suckers for history, so we admit there might be an underlying bias here. But give History (formerly History Channel) credit for what might have been the most elaborate Twitter plan of the year. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, the cable TV brand tweeted for more than a week as if it was reporting November 1963's news in real time. This included an up-to-the-minute account of President Kennedy's ill-fated ride through Dealey Plaza.

5. Customer care up in the air

Lastly, while the focus this year has been centered on real-time buzz, what about social customer service? American Airlines quietly showed brands how it's done mid-summer with this back-and-forth with @IdeaGov. What's particularly zeitgeisty about this exchange: The airline didn't stop helping its customer when he was  in-flight. It continued the conversation with him at 35,000 feet via Twitter.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.