Totinos earns kudos for Super Bowl social media; Nationwide takes a hit

The pizza roll maker got a jump on Sunday’s festivities, live-tweeting the big game a day early. The insurer’s ad about child deaths from accidents stirred bad feelings.

Aside from a genuinely competitive football game, Sunday night’s Super Bowl didn’t give brands much out of the ordinary to work with on social media. (There were no blackouts to seize upon.)

Perhaps in anticipation of a mostly smooth event, the social media team at Totino’s, makers of the pizza rolls that viewers consume at many Super Bowl parties, decided to live-tweet the game a night early, and came up with a far stranger, fictional contest.

A few examples:

Adweek called Totinos’ pre-game live-tweet “a sophisticated, hilarious, snark-laden mockery of the entire process—showing us just how ridiculous and sometimes phoned-in ‘real-time’ marketing can be.”

During the real game Sunday night, insurer Nationwide was among the brands that attracted the most social media attention, but the reaction to this ad was less than positive: ​

According to a sentiment report obtained by Marketing Land, the social media response to the ad was 63 percent negative. The YouTube version of the ad has gotten nearly 4,500 thumbs-down votes, compared with about 1,500 thumbs-ups.

Here are some of the Twitter reactions:

Yet a few commentators maintained that just by getting people talking, Nationwide was the brand winner of the night:

According to an interview with Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer Matt Jauchius at Fast Company, the ad was the brand’s attempt to “stage an intervention.” “We chose a more serious tone precisely because it will be so different than most commercials during the Super Bowl,” he said. What do you think, PR Daily readers? In the long run, was the social media reaction to Nationwide’s #MakeSafeHappen ad a PR win?


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