Newsjacking Super Bowl XLVIII, Plus 17 Hashtag Predictions


ADOTAS — When Mark Twain was at a meeting of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee on November 12, 1879, he proclaimed, “I never could make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it.”

We live in a real-time world. A world where we share our attention between multiple screens at the same time. This year mobile Internet usage will likely trump desktop usage. Marketers must not only fight for attention against near-infinite distractions, but also engage us across multiple devices and channels at the same time.

There are two ways to garner attention in an increasingly distracted world. The first way is to create news. To give people something to talk about. The second way is to join the conversation that is already happening.

One of the biggest news and social events of the year is upon us. The 2014 Super Bowl XLVII

Unless you are sitting on an eight-digit ad budget, your only real option of getting attention is to figure out what people will be talking about during and after the big game, and join the conversation.

We all remember Oreo’s smashing success last Super Bowl, where they capitalized on the blackout with a simple tweet and picture. What many of us might not realize is how much work and preparation probably went into that impromptu tweet. For a big brand like Oreos to go public with something, it needs to go through more than just an ideation and creative process, it must also go through multiple rounds of approval and red tape. How did Oreos pull this off in real time? They created a war room for the Super Bowl. Their marketing agency watched the game with the brand executives, so that they can jump on any opportunity within minutes. They probably also had most of the creative done, and just needed a few minutes to get it ready and go live.

This year, many more brands are embracing what David Meerman Scott calls Newsjacking. A term I am not crazy about, but an accurate one nonetheless. David explains that Newsjacking is the art of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate massive media coverage. The key is to figure out what’s trending or about to trend very early on, and contribute something meaningful to the story. Something that journalists would want to add to their story and social bees will want to share. This year, many brands, (and you should too) are setting up their own control centers to watch the game together with all the people needed to jump on an opportunity in real time. An ideal team would be a designer, a copywriter, and whoever is needed to approve the ad. This last piece, the approval folks are crucially important as time is the enemy of tact, and a distasteful attempt at injecting your story into the news can blow up in your face.

The holy grail of NewsJacking the Super Bowl is figuring out what people will be talking about across the web and in person during and after the big game, and more importantly, what stories will the media jump on the morning after. I can’t imagine a single news outlet not covering the Super Bowl the next day, and you can be sure they will cover any wardrobe malfunctions, blackouts, game deciding plays, referee blunders and the funniest commercials.

The good news is that over 60% of big game advertisers launched a pre-game campaign to start engaging their fans before the game. In fact, many advertisers are running PPC Ads to capture search traffic around their Super Bowl commercials. YouTube even has a page devoted to Super Bowl commercial previews. This means that not only can you preview many of their commercials, you can figure out which hashtags they plan on promoting. In fact, many brands are even running paid search ads with hashtags in them before the big game.

Knowing these hashtags in advance can help you a) rank in social search right when they start trending by posting content around those hashtags right when they become popular. The bigger benefit though is you can monitor them to see what’s trending to know where to focus your efforts. If you have your social and media monitoring in place in advance you can not only see very early on if a hashtag is trending, but you can also see what other hashtags are used in conjunction with the promoted ones and find other opportunities. This is a great blog post that outlines 21 tools for tracking and engaging users around hashtags. I recommend setting up real time monitoring for all likely to trend hashtags with a tool that lets you easily engage with people who post with those hashtags. The list above has some great tools, many of them free.

Remember, hashtags are about more than just Twitter. Google+, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all support hashtags as well as many other social sites. If you want to be extra clever, you can follow this sneaky strategy I wrote about a while ago. If you optimize your page titles and image titles with trending hashtags, they will automatically be injected in your readers shares and tweets of your content, since most social sharing automatically pull the page or image title into the message.

Here are the hashtags that matter this Super Bowl.

I compiled this list by watching commercial previews, and seeing which hashtags and websites are being advertised this Super Bowl. There will of course be ones for each team. I know the Denver Broncos are promoting the hashtag #unitedinorange I don’t know if the Seahawks are promoting one as well. There are of course typical ones to track like variations of 2014 #Super Bowl XLVIII, and #Bruno Mars, #Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Pepsi #halftime. Those should be easy to guess and adapt too.

Here are the hashtags that advertisers are actively promoting and should prove to be very popular.

Butterfinger #CUPTHERAPY

Bud Light #UpForWhatever

Jaguar #GoodToBeBad

Heinz #ifyourehappy

Beats Music Vision #BeatsMusic

Pepsi #Halftime

Intuit #TeamSmallBiz

Dannon Oikos #FuelYourPleasure

Axe #Kissforpeace

GoDaddy #itsgotime

Toyota Highlander #NoRoomForBoring

Wonderful Pistachios #getcrackinamerica

Doritos #crashthesuperbowl

There are of course many other advertisers, but these are the only hashtags I could find and verify.

You of course need to monitor trends to discover what is becoming popular, so you can join the conversation and contribute in a meaningful way.

Remember, if you track the main hashtags you will likely surface any trending hashtags around crazy events like wardrobe malfunctions and blackouts.

Enjoy the Game and Go #Broncos!


  1. David, While you and others may not love the term
    newsjacking, it certainly is memorable. My favorite sort of
    newsjacking is of stories you can’t predict. While the Super Bowl
    and other fixed time events are interesting, the really fun stuff
    to newsjack is a breaking story you never saw coming.


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