How 4 Brands (and Bob Newhart) Made the Most of College Football’s First Playoff Championship

Butterfinger, Arby's among the social notables

Headshot of Christopher Heine

There weren't a ton of brands that treated Monday night's first college football playoff championship like it was a worthy of the kind of real-time marketing efforts normally seen for huge, live-TV events. 

That means it was a missed opportunity for many marketers given that the game between Ohio State and Oregon on ESPN was expected to become the No. 1 rated cable program of all time. But a handful of brands deserve credit for creativity and timing. 

In the game's third quarter, Ohio State fumbled the ball, which was the fourth or fifth time the pigskin hit the turf during the game up until that point. Butterfinger responded aptly. 

Arby's played the same theme at a similar juncture in the game.

With Oregon down 35-20 to the Buckeyes late in the fourth quarter, Denny's underscored the unlikelihood of the Ducks coming back to win. (Ohio State ended up winning 42-20.)

And then there was Duck Tape, a duct tape brand that could have joked about Oregon's mascot being a duck. But the brand is based in Avon, Ohio, which is about two hours north of Ohio State's hometown of Columbus. So, it stayed pretty neutral, naturally. 

At any rate, Duck Tape published around 25 real-time Vine videos on Twitter, often choosing to update its audience on the game's score with fun animations involving its products. Here's one example. 

Lastly, there was the fun case of Bob Newhart, the 85-year-old legendary comedian. For most of the game's first half, "Bob Newhart" trended nationally on Twitter because the game's lead referee, Greg Burks, resembles the comic just enough for TV viewers to have fun with the coincidence in their social streams. The octogenarian responded, true to his famous comedic timing, on the social site. At press time, his tweet had garnered 21,000 retweets and favorites. 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.
Publish date: January 13, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT