A Little Bit of Elder Scrolls With Your Super Bowl

While watching Super Bowl XLVIII with family and friends (and seven screaming children in the background), most of us were tuned to our smartphones as well, keeping an eye on what social media had to say about the big game. And while the usual dryly humorous Facebook posts creeped through, and the snarky comments about Peyton Manning rolled along on Twitter, I was surprised when my phone buzzed awake during the first half with the tweet below smiling at me:

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That’s right, the folks over at ZeniMax Online Studios were attempting to newsjack the Super Bowl.

Newsjacking is a relatively new term, describing the attempt of companies to turn breaking news or major events into publicity for their brand or product. It’s been done quite frequently over the last few years (some attempts have been¬†successful and tasteful, and then… there were¬†others). And while it was quite clear ZOS’s tweets were pre-scheduled, they were done quite well and made for a fun distraction from an otherwise boring football game.

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If I hadn’t already pre-ordered The Elder Scrolls Online I certainly would have done so during this lackluster Super Bowl. But it made me wonder, what would have happened if these tweets had been the official announcement that ESO was available to pre-order? Surely it’s best to announce something like this when there’s not something else going on that most of the country is either watching or intentionally ignoring. But… what if?

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I know for me, I would have gotten up immediately, run down to my computer so I wouldn’t be distracted with people around me and fumbling things up with my thumbs on my phone. I’d have grabbed my wallet on the way down the hall, jumped in my chair, headed to the site, and thrown my money at ZOS faster than Peyton Manning throwing to a Seattle Seahawk. I’d have sat back in my chair and looked a little closer at what I’d just purchased, and made sure I actually selected the right package. I’d have gotten back on Twitter to see what everyone else was saying, maybe even throw a bone to some of my more sports-minded friends who might have missed the announcement. And eventually I’d have made my way back up to the game.

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But I wonder how many people would have done the same thing? Perhaps, a more beautiful and brilliant solution would have been to actually have a team of people in the office watching the game, waiting, and hoping for a game just like we got. A game where one team was clearly dominating and by the third quarter there wasn’t much chance of it ever getting close. Then, ZOS unleashes a tweet that pulled thousands of people away from their TVs:

“Tired of games that aren’t balanced? Then give up on the Super Bowl and pre-order The Elder Scrolls Online, right now!”

I certainly would have done what I described above, and I’m sure many people would have done the same thing. The game was getting dull, and I imagine much of the country was just looking forward to commercial breaks at that point. And if the game had been close up to that point, then ZOS could simply hold the tweet and announce the pre-order availability Monday morning. Win-win.

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Maybe I have a future career in newsjacking (or, maybe I really don’t), but I loved getting a little bit of Elder Scrolls with my Super Bowl on Sunday night, and I hope you all enjoyed it as well.

Only 59 more days….

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