Julia Schatz, Consultant

The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers last night to become Super Bowl XLVII Champs. The real winner, besides Beyoncé, was Twitter.

Twitter set a new record with over 24.1 million tweets during last night’s game.  By the start of the second half, the volume of tweets surpassed last year’s 13.7 million total. By the end of the game, #SB47 tweets exceeded the 23 million sent out during the 2012 U.S. Presidential election in November.

As expected, the Super Bowl halftime show was a major topic of conversation. Basically, Beyoncé killed it! Her halftime show generated 5.5 million tweets! Twitter provided the following breakdown of fans most talked about moments of her show by Tweets-per-minute (TPM): 268,000 TPM during the conclusion of her show,  257,500 TPM during the Destiny’s Child reunion on stage and 252,500 TPM while Beyoncé was singing her hit, “Single Ladies.”

Then the unexpected happened. About 90 seconds into the 3rd quarter, half the lights of New Orleans’ Superdome went dark.  This power outage lasted for 33:55. As the Superdome remained dark, social media lit up! The power outage generated (pun intended) 231,500 TPM, becoming the most tweeted topic during the game itself.

During the outage it seemed like everyone turned to Twitter to comment on and monitor the situation. The break from the game was a unique opportunity for advertisers.  Moving quickly, Twitter reported that it took only four minutes for the first Promoted Tweet to appear against searches for [power outages]. Real-time digital marketing was taken to a new extreme.  Although Oreo paid for their “Cookies or Cream?” spot to air during the Super Bowl, it was their timely “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet that really got people buzzing about the brand. According to Mashable, Oreo gained 7,700 followers last night.

While advertisers took advantage of the blackout, my crisis PR driven brain went in another direction. Jokes on Twitter included somebody at the Superdome was going to lose their job tonight.  Monday, while the media is capturing the role of social media during the Super Bowl, two companies will be working overtime to deal with a nationally-witnessed hiccup-turned-crisis.

Today, February 4, 2013, Entergy Corporation and SMG, the management company of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome released a joint statement regarding the partial power loss during the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

“Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.

 Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome.

The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the facility.

There were no additional issues detected.

Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”

Ironically, the Superdome blackout put these two companies in the spotlight. In my opinion, Entergy and SMG will need to provide more specific answers to address last night’s mistake. SMG will have to be especially thorough in their public relations follow up if they want continue to be seen as competent when their other venues they manage are considered for future national events.

Update 2-05-13:

PR Daily has a great follow up to the Super Bowl fiasco.  Find out their take on the PR Fumble here: https:///ow.ly/hrVD6