Inside Story

How Monster Won Super Bowl XLIX

We’re not here with another Top 10 Ads of Super Bowl XLIX” list. Instead, we’ve got 2 scoops of insight into Monster’s genius game-ending tweet and their game-winning social media strategy.

Monster won the Super Bowl of branded social media battles with this beautifully timed, on brand, delight of a tweet. 

Of course the Patriots won, and of course Monster was purposeful in its mistake. In fact, upon expanding the tweet you find a search for Social Media Manager” on Mon​ster​.com and a clever call-to-action. 

No matter why you’re looking for a new job, we can help you find better. Congrats New England.” 

Not only did hundreds of Twitter trollers engage with the tweet within seconds, many wrongly assuming this was an actual #oops, but within days Monster had captured the eyes of millions of fans. So how did Monster strike real-time marketing gold and become the Oreo Black Out tweet of 2015? We sat down with Monster’s own Social Media and Communication Director, Patrick Gillooly, to find out. 

Let’s start as broad as we can. How did you do it?

This was the moment that we built everything for. One of our agencies, BBDO, brought us the idea, and we brought the knowledge of the platform, the intended audience, context, and timing, and we collaboratively pulled off something pretty extraordinary. 

The moment the game clock expired we sent the tweet. The context of the game coming down to the wire really helped us out! Right after sending we refreshed wondering how it was going to do, and there were 300 re-tweets in the first 10 seconds. The feed was screaming by, but we speculated that 75% of the initial engagement wouldn’t have clicked through and uncovered the joke, so we sat back to watch it all unfold before jumping into the conversation. None of it was automated so when we did jump in, our little team was off and running responding to hundreds and hundreds of tweets. 

How does it feel to be compared to the infamous Oreo tweet of 2013?

It’s awesome, but honestly I’m not sure we should be compared. The Dunk in the Dark tweet was incredibly successful but, 

Oreo both created and destroyed the concept of real-time marketing in the same moment. 

It made brands more cognizant than ever of the need to be timely and relevant, but it also sent hoards of brands and agencies to Twitter clamoring to clog your feed with their attempts to replicate Oreo’s viral magic. Their success was set up by a strong foundation – they had run that campaign for some time before capitalizing on their ability to be flexible and prepared in the moment. 

And a lot of planning went into our Super Bowl tweet too. We spent five hours just deciding on the call-to-action copy. Success in social today is about being prepared, and having the structure to be nimble. 

You obviously designed this campaign for Twitter with the hidden part of the image, but you also executed it through Facebook and Instagram. Did you expect to see the same or different levels of engagement and how do you plan for your audiences across channels?

We did release this to multiple channels but the response was definitely not the same, nor was it expected to be. We had comments on our Facebook post, where you could see the full image right away, and they weren’t getting the joke as quickly. That sentiment just proves that successful messages are platform — and audience — specific. 

So in syndicating your content, you typically wouldn’t automate a post to go everywhere you have a presence?

Our general rule of thumb is no. We do use Hootsuite to schedule, but rarely ever to cross-pollinate posts without re-crafting them specifically for that platform and that audience. 

Automation can play a role in your overall strategy, if done well, but why automate just to send more messages out? Why not send fewer better messages, and do it on a platform by platform basis. We’ve built ourselves for efficiency, not automation. 

With audiences in both the B2B and B2C worlds, how are you catering your messages to be relevant for both and to stand out amongst the social noise?

We’ve definitely started trying to find more and more ways to blur the line, but in reality our audiences are so similar, they’re just different sides of the same coin. Our motto is to develop the right content, at the right time, with right context, plus a tinge of emotion.

You also need to be prepared to swing at any time and adjust your content and social strategies to serve your current following. Not alienate them based on a dated umbrella strategy. We’re watching the social stream in real-time all day, every day and are completely data-oriented in every single action we take. But we don’t make a decision because the data says to do it – we simply use the data to help rationalize our gut and anecdote-based decision making. 

As far as the social streams you pay attention to, do you spend time in many fringe channels and niche networks or do you focus on the major players with proven engagement?

We’re very focused on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even Google+, which has huge impact on our core KPI’s, though many people would think otherwise and tell you G+ is dead. We give every network a shot and see if we can be there in a meaningful way. 

Vine is growing in popularity for us. Super, we love because it’s very Instagram-like. Right now we’re figuring out what to do with This, what to do with Secret, Whisper, Ello, YikYak. We were actually one of the first brands on Yo and did a pilot with their API. We were just Yo-ing people we discovered as a brand activity, it was great. Some platforms may be on the cut list, because we always want to be active, not just present. 

Our focus is on engagement. When we consider joining a new network, we look at who can we find?” not what can we do?”. Even if we’re not broadcasting out a lot, what you’re not seeing behind the scenes is that every single day we’re finding people who are on a job interview, or who updated their résumé, and we’re engaging with those posts 1-to-1. 

Speaking of KPI’s, what’s your most important?

We’re looking for third party validation of our campaigns. How many people told somebody else about Monster? That’s success for us – top of the funnel word of mouth. 


Congratulations Seattle. And congratulations Monster! Thanks for keeping us on our toes. 

Stay tuned for the second part of our interview with Patrick when we dive into the secrets, and the metrics, behind how Monster successfully scaled their social media strategy. We’ll also get a special look inside the Monster social media war room. 

Written by

Jonathan Ronzio

Experience Chaser, Writer, Speaker

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