Get Ready for the Super Bowl: 5 Tips to Prepare for Social TV Participation

Debra Ellis President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Posted on January 29th 2014

Get Ready for the Super Bowl: 5 Tips to Prepare for Social TV Participation

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

The three components of viral content are preparation, opportunity, and luck. Americans’ propensity for sharing comments on social media sites while watching TV combined with a big event like Super Bowl XLVIII provides the opportunity. Good preparation and a little luck substantially improve the odds of your content going viral.

Oreo’s well-publicized “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet during last year’s Super Bowl blackout created a discussion that continues to provide brand awareness a year later:

Oreo tweets "You can still dunk in the dark."

 Arby’s tweet to musician Pharrel Williams during the Grammys is another example of preparation meeting opportunity and luck. The original tweet started a conversation that was picked up by mainstream media:

Arby's "Can we have our hat back?" tweet

Both tweets were designed to make sharing easy. Here are the components that helped increase the exposure:

Content – The comments were entertaining and apropos. Arby’s gained additional exposure by including a hashtag for the Grammys. Oreo added visual appeal with the image.

Tweet Length – Limiting the number of characters used made it easier for people to retweet. Both tweets had less than 50 characters. This left room for the retweet and additional commentary. The easier you make it, the more likely the retweet.

Timing – The timing was perfect for both tweets. The Oreo tweet received over 15,000 retweets and was tagged as a favorite over 6,000 times. The Arby’s tweet received over 75,000 retweets and was tagged as a favorite over 40,000 times. This is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

How to prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl:

Choose the social platforms - The overwhelming majority of people choose Twitter for their social activity on the second screen. Some reports suggest as much as 80% of the conversation will be via tweets. If you have a large active audience on other platforms consider participating there as well.

Prepare to go live - Scheduled content doesn’t work as well in live events.  Create a few “if, then” messages so you have them ready to cut and paste if the appropriate opportunity appears. You’ll be able to respond faster when you don’t have to worry about length, style, or spelling.

Choose the right people to manage the platforms - This is the Super Bowl. You need a winning team. Choose people that understand your brand, know the objectives, have good common sense, and love football. A passion for football isn’t mandatory but people who love the game will see more opportunities.

Have support staff available - The image used by Oreo added to the effectiveness of the tweet. Having assistance available helps capitalize on the opportunity. And, if the conversation goes wild, the support staff can help monitor and respond to the activity.

Do your research in advance - Is there a connection between your brand and one of the players? Connections with players or coaches provide sharing opportunity. Use the information to create some of the “if, then” messages.

The preparation done now significantly improves your chances to capitalize on sharing opportunities during the Super Bowl. There’s no way to know in advance that there will be a blackout or someone will show up in an oversized hat but there are some indicators of things to come. We know it will be cold and probably snowy. We know that there will be standout plays on the field and possibly in the stands. Spend a little time thinking about what might happen and how to respond. You’ll be prepared when luck strikes.


Debra Ellis

President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Debra Ellis is a business consultant, author, and speaker. She specializes in showing companies how to improve customer acquisition and retention using integrated marketing and service strategies. Her latest marketing guide, 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, is a practical resource for marketers seeking better results with minimal investment. Her engineering background provides statistical insight to finding actionable data that can be used to grow companies and reduce costs.

She is recognized as an expert in marketing from direct mail to social media, customer behavior, and strategic planning. Her expertise is often tapped by media sources including: The New York Times, CNN/’s Small Business Makeovers, Target Marketing, Multichannel Merchant, and MarketingProfs.

Her marketing guides include 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, Social Media 4 Direct Marketers, and Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle.

Debra loves the art and science of multichannel marketing. She is a student and teacher of the methods that transform shoppers into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers. In 1995, she founded Wilson & Ellis Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in creating strategies that make channels and departments work together to optimize the customer experience. Since then, she has worked with over a hundred distinguished clients such as Costco, Edmund Scientifics, Jacuzzi, Ross-Simons Jewelry, and The Body Shop.

Prior to founding her firm, Debra was instrumental in the record growth of Ballard Designs, Inc. while serving as Chief Operating Officer. Today, she uses her experience and expertise to show executives how to successfully navigate marketing channels and integrate activities to profitably grow their business. Her practical approach maximizes the return on investment.

She can be reached via email at [email protected]. She blogs at

See Full Profile >


Madhava Verma Dantuluri
Posted on January 29th 2014 at 11:47AM

Wonderful notes and should be followed for the good branding. I will adopt to few of them like "Do your research" and "timing". Thank you.

Posted on January 29th 2014 at 10:28PM

Thank you for reading my post and sharing your comments.

Ajay Prasad
Posted on January 30th 2014 at 12:28AM

Nice post. I think twitter is emerging as a very big platform of social communication and can provide a very energetic audience to anyone. Thank for sharing some of the key points of twitter. It will help.

Posted on January 30th 2014 at 10:27AM

Thank you Ajay. I agree. Twitter is especially good for live events.

Posted on February 3rd 2014 at 12:35AM

Now that the big game is done being played you can really see how quickly a platform like Twitter can take over. #EsuranceSave30 blew up in seconds! It did that because one account was going to win the chance to win the 30% Esurance saved. Esurance had it played out and they new once the game was done they were ready but was everyone watching ready. Social media is changing the way companies are interacting with fans and being ready for changing things such as the blackout or the Arby's.