The super bowl last night was a great game filled with action, energy, Beyonce, commercials, and power outages. As many people saw last night watching the super bowl, the lights literally went out during the game.

While sites like Mashable, Huffington Post,  and others are speculating on why the lights went out yesterday at the super bowl, I want to bring up a point of interest to business owners. Notice how the NFL did not cancel the game, because the lights went out. In fact, on both sides of the field, the teams were relatively calm as they waited the 35 minutes for power to return to the game.

San Francisco even used this time to mentally prepare themselves to erase a 23 point deficit. They almost did, losing by 3 points at the end of the game.

However, I thought I would bring up a point that seems to be ignored during the funny jokes like Who Let’s Lights Out! Who! Who!

People did not panic! Mass hysteria did not ensue. Sure the social media streams were buzzing with jokes about the power going out. The lights going out at one of the biggest venues of the year is sure to get people commenting.

While I had fun sharing and writing a few of them that were out there last night. I also made a comment on my fan page and Google plus Social Media community that I want to expound upon:

Just think! If you were ever afraid to speak out, and build your business fear no more. On one of the biggest highlight games of the year, with hundreds of millions watching, the lights went out. Puts your fear in perspective.

Sometimes as business owners we get stuck in our heads marketing our business. What happens if we make a mistake. Will this be the end? Most of the time we sit in paralyzing fear over mistakes that will probably not be remembered or matter to others down the road.

However, you will make mistakes. That is how we learn. I believe half of this blog is a testament to the mistakes I made over the years. It is a journal of how I learned from those mistakes, so you would not need to make all of the mistakes yourself.

Time to take a look at how you can learn from the NFL last night during the blackout. Here is what they did right and wrong.

Let’s tear off the band-aid of the wrong they committed. The longer you wait to go over the wrongs, the more you will fear it.

  • Do not let a 49’ers fan have access to the lighting booth. OK! Bad joke. How could I resist this one. Seriously.
  • Someone needed to make sure all the equipment worked properly before the game begins. While it sounds easy, so many businesses forget the basics. This was a perfect example.
  • When the game first went off the air to commercials there was no indication of what happened. Perhaps they needed a minute to figure out what the “bleep” just happened, but the fans needed to know what happened as well. It felt like the Heidi game all over for a second.

Now, what did they do right.

  • When the game came back on the air, they had an announcer immediately state what happened. Plus, they started detailing what the stadium crew was doing to fix the problem. Do not just tell people what happened. Tell them how you plan on fixing it.
  • From the start, everyone was committed to moving forward with the game. Even though the game’s momentum fully shifted in the 5 minutes following the blackout, the game continued.

Bonus: What advertiser scored during the blackout!

What I think was more impressive than the way the NFL handled the blackout was the team at Oreo creative use of the blackout for branding. They had set up shop during the game, and when blackout happened they created a quick graphic that got retweeted over 12,000 times. It was too the point, relevant to the game, and entertaining all at the same time. A great brand coup d’etat for the game. Oreo Cookies

Oreo Cookies Lights Out Pic

Talk about a great way to entertain your fans while the power was out. The fact that they tied this into their brand so quickly and easily makes this by far the best advertisement of the night. A number of other companies, like Budweiser and Dodge, had nice solid hits with their advertisements. No other brand was able to come out with a crisp tweet so quickly, and garner as much attention.

What have you learned? Hopefully, that things will go wrong in anything you do. It is a part of life. It is not how we handle the victories in life that matters, it is how we handle the defeat. If we bow our head to the enemy they have won. Next time the lights go out on your online marketing efforts what will you do?

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