AARP's Real-Time Emmy Tweet Surpasses TV Sponsor Buzz

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.

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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.

4 comments about "AARP's Real-Time Emmy Tweet Surpasses TV Sponsor Buzz".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), September 25, 2013 at 5:02 p.m.

    Careful when throwing around numbers relating to effectiveness; there are too many people around here who check such things. On a raw basis, is 776 retweets that great? If AARP has 68,000+ followers (easy to check), that comes out to somewhere around 1% engagement rate by that universe. If you look at the universe of tweets related to the Emmy broadcast however (924,667), engagement (measured by retweets) is closer to .1% The point of this number crunching? What's the real return on this activity, and what did it cost to achieve this "return?" Overnights show the Emmys did pretty well in ratings vs. previous years, especially among the 18-49 age group. But that's 1 year short of the AARP target, isn't it.

  2. Beth Carpenter from AARP, September 25, 2013 at 10:16 p.m.

    Jonathan - just to clarify, that engagement rate is based on impressions served in a promoted campaign and includes all tweets promoted, not just the one.

    Always good to hear our work mentioned :) Particularly enjoyed being able to highlight Ellen Burstyn's comments (re: writers writing a strong part featuring a woman over 65).

    - Beth Carpenter (@bethshanna)
    AARP Social Communications

  3. Juliette Cowall from Godwin Plumbing & Hardware, September 26, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.

    Is this another SuperBowl/Oreo moment where media and marketing professionals were likely the ones retweeting it? Did the consumer retweet it? If the consumer didn't notice and retweet, in what way was it effective?

  4. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, September 27, 2013 at 9:17 a.m.

    There's a pull toward polar thinking in our business, that either something is permanently game-changing (OMG, Twitter is better than TV!) or entirely worthless. The truth is somewhere in the middle. For me, the fact that AARP is on Twitter and had a fun response helps make the brand feel more contemporary. It's not nearly enough on its own to accomplish all of AARP's objectives, but... it doesn't have to be. It's a small step along the way to brand reconsideration, not a quantum leap.

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