Like most American sports enthusiasts, we watched the Super Bowl last night. Like most marketing professionals, we watched in anticipation of the clever ads. The brands that scored big (in our opinion) this year weren’t advertising in traditional TV commercial slots, they were dominating on another screen in short video clips and 140 characters or less.

The hashtag #SB48 was trending throughout the entire game and many brands used it as their obligatory entry into the real-time, hugely popular conversation. Two did it extremely well by leveraging the main benefits of social media: the ability to share relevant content at the drop of a hat that shows your brand personality.

J C Penney

Brilliant play or epic fumble? Either way, millions were talking about and tweeting to @JCPenney during the Super Bowl last night.

If you aren’t familiar with what happened, here’s a quick snapshot on how @JCPenney stole the conversation on Twitter:

JCPennytweet

The simple, clumsily crafted tweets got people talking. Instantly, @JCPenney was spreading like wildfire, without one penny of advertising.

Their response? Brilliant.

JCPennytweet2

Whether their intern faced his or her worst fear (you community managers know what I’m talking about) or this was cleverly devised plan (update: it was), it successfully generated buzz. They took over Twitter and even got other brands engaging with them.

gma

We give @JCPenney two mittens up for not deleting the tweets and turning it into a live conversation that earned them at least 50,000 new Twitter followers within hours.

Tide

Tide was another brand that caught our attention. They strategized on a creative way to leverage @Vine to create “responses” to the commercials being aired by other brands. Some of those included Cheerios, Jaguar, Budweiser and Beats.

One of our favorites was their Vine response to Cheerios.

TideVine

 

They cleverly joined in on the #SB48 conversations by being, or becoming, relevant; something that a lot of brands fail to understand and execute when using social media platforms.

Again, these “advertising” efforts were done with little or no money and created an impression with their audiences and other brands.

Content is king — but only if it’s relevant. Now let’s talk about Bruno Mars…