Quick-thinking brands take to social media to capitalize on Super Bowl power outage

By Natan Edelsburg 

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:

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.

And quick-thinking PBS capitalized on it:

Meanwhile, brands quickly scrambled to buy a key Twitter search term:

Several other brands posted witty tweets during the blackout:

And one of our favorites…

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:

LA Times’s Steven Zeitchik:

Indiewire’s Jay Fernandez:

Reason’s Garrett Quinn:

Reuters’ Piya Sinha-Roy:

Nylon Guys’ Adrian Brinkley: