By halftime of the 2014 Super Bowl, it was clear to almost everyone that the Seattle Seahawks were going to win the NFL championship. What remained in question was which company would maximize its investment in the notoriously expensive advertising during the biggest game of the year.

Many companies used social media to expand their reach as viewers were reacting to the game and the commercials online.  Let’s do a little Monday morning quarterbacking and see which real time marketing ploys scored big, and which missed the goalposts.

Call to Action MVP: Esurance’s $1.5 million giveaway

In commercial breaks filled with hashtags, the only one that flooded my Twitter feed was #EsuranceSave30. The online insurance company tied its message of passing savings along to its customers to a $1.5 million giveaway—to enter, all you need to do is Tweet the hashtag. On-message and very effective. And what’s $1.5 million when you’ve already shelled out twice that for a 30-second spot?

Improper use of the hashtag: Budweiser

Any social media manager worth the money you’re paying them knows spaces break up a hashtag, making it impossible to track. 

 

Work of an overzealous copyeditor, or just plain lazy? We’ll never know.

So Crazy it Just Might Work Play: JC Penney

Shades of Scott Brown? JC Penney went viral on social media as it sent several Tweets rife with typos. Other brands piggybacked on the buzz, suggesting the retailer eat some chips or call for a designated driver. Alas, if these brands had checked Penney’s entire feed, they would have caught on to what was actually happening: JC Penney was #TweetingWithMittens. The stunt got them 41,000 retweets, but is it the right message for a retailer that’s struggling to find a path to profitability?

Community management MVP: DiGiorno Pizza

You’ll never go wrong with humor on Super Bowl Sunday. DiGiorno probably had a lot of these drafted and ready to roll, but the off-the-cuff nature made them resonate on social media.

Sitting on the Sidelines: Oreo and Progressive

Last year, Oreo won the social media brand game by creating a timely and funny social ad in reaction to a blackout at the Super Bowl. In 2014, the brand decided to sit the game out, Tweeting that it was “going dark” for the game. Insurance giant Progressive used its cheery spokeswoman Flo to Tweet the question “What do car insurance and football have in common? Nothing.” Tell it to Esurance, Flo.

Who were your social media MVPs? Let us know in the comments!