Brands Make Big Plays During Championship Games

As we move deeper into RTM season, it's one big event after another. For weeks, America's favorite football teams have been battling it out to secure a spot at the upcoming Super Bowl. While only the Seahawks and the Patriots remain to fight for the Lombardi trophy, brands are still gaining with real-time social messages.

But as we’ve talked about in past blog posts, real-time isn’t just a gimmick, it’s a useful strategy for any brand that drives real results. And as we look at the data behind RTM during this year’s playoffs, we see a lot of champions in the social world. Let’s take a look.

The Game: Cardinals / Panthers

By celebrating Cam Newton’s performance in the first Wild Card game of the day, Under Armour was jumping on a trend that their audience responded to with great enthusiasm. This Tweet saw a +167% bump in Retweets, and +330% bump in Favorites over the levels of engagement the brand usually sees.


The Game: Bengals / Colts

As the Colts celebrated their victory over the Bengals with a Ric Flair-style celebration, the WWE Universe jumped on the trend and celebrated alongside the team. Their followers loved the mashup of football and wrestling, and engaged with the Tweet in record numbers (a +376% bump in Retweets, and a +369% bump in Favorites). 


The Game: Lions / Cowboys

Why should football have all the fun? With only 30 days until Spring Training, the Texas Rangers kept their social skills tuned for the upcoming season with this congratulatory Tweet celebrating the Cowboys’ victory over the Detroit Lions. How did the Rangers’ audience respond? By giving the Tweet more than +1,000% Retweets and +980% more Favorites than usual.


The Game: Both Sets of Week 19 Games 

Comedy Central decided to make some great real-time content around the playoffs using breakout stars, Kay and Peele. The humorous preview to the weekend’s games scored with its comic timing and high production value, earning the Tweet a +600% bump in Retweets and +270% bump in Favorites when compared to normal Comedy Central social levels.


The Game: Cowboys / Packers 

After a controversial call pretty much decided the great game between the Cowboys and the Packers, a team who wasn't even playing emerged as the social winner of the week. The Detroit Lions were victims of a questionable call during a previous playoff round and they reached out to the Cowboys via Twitter to extend their sympathies. Their followers responded with championship levels of enthusiasm, giving the Tweet a +57,000% bump in Retweets and 32,500% bump in Favorites vs. the performance levels of the Lions’ last 3,200 Tweets.


The Game: Packers / Seahawks

Week 20, January 18

After one of the craziest games of the year, Delta Airlines celebrated alongside the Seahawks with some great pre-made creative that was posted at the right time. By jumping on Seattle’s playoff win that sends them to the Super Bowl, Delta saw an impressive increase in engagement (+162% bump in Retweets, 210% bump in Favorites) with their Tweet.

In addition, Miller Lite jumped onto the Seahawks conversation to say what we were all thinking, and earned more than double their normal levels of Retweets and Favorites as a result.


You Don’t Have to Wait for the Big Game to Be Relevant

As plenty of brands have showed us over the past few weeks, you don’t have to hold off for a huge event to get your audience’s attention. While nothing is quite like the big game itself, there are opportunities for you to dazzle your audience with engaging conversations all throughout the year. This NFL season has shown us that brands can also keep fans on the edge of their seats with strategic, social content.

Want to make big plays of your own? Download the Big Show Look Book to discover 5 top ways to incorporate social experiences into your next live event.


Chris Kerns's picture

Chris Kerns

Chris Kerns has spent more than a decade defining digital strategy and is at the forefront of finding insights from digital data. He currently leads Analytics and Research at Spredfast. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today and AdWeek, among other publications.