As the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens clashed in New Orleans during Super Bowl 2013, a chance occurrence handed Oreo's team of social media strategists the opportunity to go viral.
It was a perfectly timed tweet that required social media savviness and the right set of circumstances.
Companies hoping to capture the magic of Oreo's tweet weren't given much to work with. The game itself was a sad, lopsided affair, which prompted a somewhat funny joke from frozen pizza maker DiGiorno.
J. C. Penney decided to use the chilly weather as inspiration for its own Twitter stunt that went viral for all the wrong reasons. The company tweeted about wearing mittens to the Super Bowl, but followers didn't put two and two together when game-related gibberish popped up on the retailer's account.
Apparently #TweetingWithMittens was the company's big play of the day, because J. C. Penney is carrying Olympic-themed "Go USA" mittens in its stores. How does that relate to a warmer-than-expected game day in New Jersey that has nothing to do with the upcoming Olympics? And doesn't J. C. Penney sell smartphone gloves? Come on, now.
Other brands slapped hashtags on their Super Bowl commercials to encourage conversation--according to Twitter, 58 percent of ads featured a hashtag, up from 50 percent last year. One commercial prompted a wave of outrage on Twitter. The always wholesome Coca-Cola debuted an ad featuring "America the Beautiful" sung in a variety of languages, not realizing that it would spark a Twitter war hashtagged #BoycottCoke. The company had its defenders, but it's obviously not the kind of viral social media campaign Coca-Cola was hoping for.
Oreo, the big winner of last year's social media Super Bowl, decided to sit out this year's game after a big Twitter promotion during the Grammy Awards. It was probably for the best.
The real winner of Super Bowl social media hijinks, as in life, was Sir Patrick Stewart.