AARP's unexpected Twitter moment came when Jeff Daniels took home the Emmy for the Best Actor in a Drama Series for his lead role on HBO's "The Newsroom." He playfully mentioned during his
acceptance speech that his only previous win was a Barcalounger for AARP's "Movies for Grownups" award.
Within minutes, the AARP social team tweeted: "with all due respect @Jeff_Daniels, we're cool with you moving the Barcalounger over for the #Emmy."
Seems like a simple Twitter tweet, but the AARP team spent hours preparing for that possible moment. They created tweets with quotes and photos for every one of the more than 50 nominees so they could pull the trigger at a moment's notice. During the show, the photo editor pulled and posted images from the red carpet in real-time, and the television blogger sat in the press room ready to do follow-up interviews following the conclusion of the show.
The social team pulled information on Emmy nominees age 50 and older to prepare. AARP amplified messaging through Twitter Ads, using keyword targeting to bid on general show terms and the names of the nominees. The forethought let the organization own the moment. The campaign sent a community to Life Reimagined, AARP's Web site that helps people re-imagine a better life after 50.
"There were more than 776 retweets of Jeff's message during the show," blowing away Emmys 2013 sponsors like Audi, said Tammy Gordon, AARP VP of social communications and strategy. "In general, out goal for an engagement rate during the Emmys was 3%, but hovered between 7% and 10," she said. "It blew out our expectations."
AARP's social team focuses on real-time events; many times integrating it with search or other types of media campaigns. This time the company didn't go it alone. It had help from its partners Grey, Mediacom, Brand and Freshwire.
Data from SocialGuide, which measures the social media conversation around TV shows, called the Emmys the most social program on TV, with 924,667 Tweets in the U.S. alone, up 48% on last year’s event, according to AARP.