Five reasons Esurance won the Social Super Bowl

Social Super Bowl winner: Esurance

by Tracey Parsons |

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone. It is the one day of the year that everyone is an expert on advertising and marketing. This year we saw emotion replace bawdiness (which was welcome for me and the 7-year-old Seahawks fan in my house). But one thing remained: real time and hashtags ruled the day on social. There were agency and brand teams across the US live tweeting, grasping at straws to get an “Oreo” moment. There were hashtags appended at the end or at the bottom of the screen. During the entire game, very little was socially memorable. Until the game was over. And then came the social media avalanche that was Esurance(disclosure: an SME client).

Esurance ran their ad at the game’s end and strategically so. In case you haven’t seen it (it was a blowout after all) their incredibly affable spokesperson, John Kasinski, lets the audience know that by buying this ad, Esurance saved 30% or $1.5 million. So, they are running a contest to give away the money they saved. And all you have to do is tweet their hashtag…one minute later, 200,000 people tweeted the hashtag. In fact, my own personal feed BLEW UP. Every single person for a good 10 minutes in my Twitter feed was tweeting #Esurancesave30. It was awesome! So, I started thinking, what can we take away from this? First the easy ones…


Um, cash…

One should never, ever underestimate what people will do for a buck. Ever. People love money a lot. A crazy lot. And I mean all people. People who already have $1.5 million were tweeting that hashtag. I saw it. Because, hell, who couldn’t use $1.5 million? So, giving away a ton of money will get a lot of attention. It’s important to note that not only do people love money, they love EASY money more.

Anyone can do it

Which for me is the second lesson learned. When you make something so completely simple that tweeting 15 letters in exchange for $1.5 million, the likelihood of adoption is very high. The more information you need to fill out on a form, the more hoops you need to jump through, the more letters and words you need to remember diminish your return on that investment. The net, if you want anyone to do anything on social, make it so easy that not doing it is just dumb.

Know who you are

And then, thinking deeper, the genius was really in the fact that the entire spot was so completely on brand. They have designed their model to be able self-service and efficiency. These efficiencies are where savings happen. Kinda like the ad. They made a play for efficiency in buying time at the end of the game and then pointed it out to everyone that it was on purpose and that everyone should save along with them. It was genius and transparent (more stuff people like). Aligning the brand with not only the promotion but, the ad purchase itself was just plain brilliant.

Know who they are

The Esurance customer is all about self-service and digital tools. They want to interact with the company via device or computer. It is an untraditional insurance model for the ever-expanding market of untraditional buyers. This segment of the population continues to grow and grow. Instead of calling for a cab, we summon an Uber car. If we don’t have to call, we won’t. We want our questions answered on Twitter and we want it done now. Esurance knows this about their target, so, they knew that they could make a strong social play and it would work. And it did. In fact in the first 12 hours, more than 2 million tweets were entered into the contest.

Get them where they are

Year after year, the Super Bowl breaks all kinds of Twitter records. It is one of the few events today that is not recorded to watch later. People watch it live and because the commercials are such an important part of the experience, we watch the whole thing. This is an insanely rare event (hence the $4 million for 30 seconds). And we watch it with another device in our hand. Because we are celebrating with not only the people we are physically with, we are celebrating with our digital besties as well. That is the world that their target demo lives in and Esurance capitalized on it with their smart, savvy, perfectly timed and placed contest.

Well played Esurance, well played indeed.

About the Author

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.