How Denny's Will Try To Win The Super Bowl On Social Media

Ever since Oreo took over Twitter feeds during a power outage at last year’s Super Bowl, brands have stepped up their use of social media during major television events with the hopes of scoring a similar hit with a relevant, real-time message that people can’t help sharing with their friends.

In the ensuing year, brands have flooded social media with inane messages on events ranging from Pearl Harbor Day to the Golden Globe Awards.

But for all of the negative press that has befallen brands like Home Depot and JPMorgan for their social media slip-ups, the sheer mass of people who will using Facebook and Twitter during the Super Bowl will make so-called “real-time marketing” too good an opportunity to pass up once the Seahawks and Broncos kick things off tonight in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“It’s a relatively low-risk and relatively low-cost initiative — especially compared to paying millions for a Super Bowl spot — with incredibly high return-on-investment potential,” said Huge community manager Andrew Cunningham, who works on social media accounts for brands like Cap’n Crunch.

One brand hoping to make a splash during this year’s game is Denny’s. In recent months, the national diner chain has built a reputation for enthusiastic, real-time goofballery by tweeting in a voice that could be described as “your pop-culture savvy friend who is also completely obsessed with breakfast food.”

According to Erwin Penland director of digital strategy Kevin Purcer, whose firm oversees Denny’s social media accounts, “America’s Diner” will have a team of 10 people brainstorming and posting messages on social media during the Super Bowl.

This will include a community manager well-versed in the Denny’s brand voice, a brand strategist and several graphic designers, creative directors, and writers who will be tasked with brainstorming ideas relevant to what’s happening during the game.

A representative from Denny’s will also be available during the game in the event Purcer’s team wants to get approval for something out of the ordinary.

Though the team already has some general ideas about what Denny’s might say during the game, it won’t have much in the way of finished posts ready prior to kickoff.

“We prefer to keep it a little bit more loose and kind of go from there,” Purcer said. “It’s about it keeping it organic, and the moment sometimes can make it that much better. We’ll have preconceived ideas of what we might do, but almost all of it is not pre-produced.”

Though Denny’s doesn’t have a limit on how often the brand will tweet during the game, the team will be careful to make sure it is adding to the Super Bowl conversation rather than hijacking it.

With consumers increasingly wary of how brands insert themselves into the social media discussion, Purcer stressed the importance of creating social media content that is relevant to the conversation and of the same quality as the jokes, GIFs, and photoshops being made by individuals watching the game.

“A lot of people don’t want brands in this conversation, so I think you need to earn the right to be there by not shilling your product at them,” Purcer said. “It’s about understanding and relating to your audience, and just having a fun conversation with them. From doing that, you gain affinity and people get passionate about the brand.”

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