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February 1, 2014

Brands vie to stand out amid Super Bowl chatter

NEW YORK (AP) — If it’s on TV, it’s on Twitter, at least when it comes to blockbuster events such as the Super Bowl.

Advertisers, in particular, are ready to capitalize.

“What advertisers have realized is that Super Bowl advertising doesn’t just take place on TV, with your 30-second or 60-second spot that you paid millions of dollars for,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for research firm eMarketer. “You really need to have a broader presence.”

Last year’s Super Bowl was interrupted by a 34-minute power outage — luckily, for one advertiser at least. Oreo seized on the opportunity and tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark.” It was retweeted and mentioned on Facebook thousands of times.

Every brand wants to be this year’s Oreo. Brands are setting up social media “war rooms” so they can respond to memorable events as they happen — be it another blackout, a snow storm or a wardrobe malfunction — with clever, retweetable quips.

Volkswagen has set up a studio in Los Angeles to create quick, catchy video responses, said Jennifer Clayton, media manager at the automaker. There will be about a dozen people in the room, from creative and production folks to community managers in charge of monitoring chatter on social media. Once a video is shot, it’ll be sent to Volkswagen’s lawyers for approval and, within 20 minutes, posted on Twitter.

“We are taking advantage of all the conversations going on out there and making it even more impactful,” she said. “We’re taking a 30- (or) 60-second spot and turning it into a campaign that’s multiple days and multiple screens.”

The game is a big day for Twitter, too. The company will have its own employees in the “war rooms” of some advertisers, helping them identify what people are tweeting about the most and helping them develop quick, clever reactions.

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