While few brands struck social media gold on Super Bowl Sunday, Esurance was able to break through by putting a digital twist on one of the oldest marketing moves in the book: a sweepstakes.
People are still talking -- and tweeting -- about the insurer's post-game ad, which dangled $1.5 million in front of viewers. The rules were simple: Tweet "#EsuranceSave30" for a chance to win all the money. The phrase refers to the fact that Esurance says it saved 30%, or $1.5 million, by running the spot immediately following the game, rather than during the game.
As of late morning on Monday, 2.39 million people had entered the contest, including 200,000 entries that streamed in within one minute of the spot airing, according to the company and Leo Burnett, which handled the campaign. Meanwhile, "EsuranceSave30" continues to trend on Twitter globally, and the campaign has already generated 1 billion impressions, according to Leo Burnett and Esurance. All the while, the brand's Twitter follower count has grown from 8,900 to 155,000.
But the campaign carried risks, namely that people would hijack the hashtag. As CNET pointed out, there have been some offensive tweets using "#EsuranceSave30," including some bashing the company, which is owned by Allstate.
Esurance says it has rules in place to disqualify inappropriate tweets from winning the prize, which will be selected after the entry period ends at 4 a.m. eastern time on Feb. 4. "It was something we anticipated and there's always going to be a few bad eggs," Nancy Abraham, Esurance's VP of advertising, said in an interview. "The good news is the response has been overwhelmingly positive." The rules "say we can disqualify entries if they are inappropriate or offensive or they have used derogatory language or information," she added.
Does that include tweets that simply criticize Esurance? "It depends on how they are positioned and I think we'd look at it on a case-by-case basis," she said. The winner will be picked at random and announced during ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show on Feb. 5.