Esurance Wins Big At The Super Bowl

David_Pearson    November 2, 2015


Company: Esurance

Industry: Insurance Services

Web References: Esurance, Twitter, Facebook

Esurance which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allstate, provides insurance services to consumers online and over the phone and also serves as a shopping and comparison site for car insurance in some territories.

They focus their marketing on  sports teams and events, typically through sponsorship and traditional advertising campaigns.

esurance all star ballot

In 2014 during  Super Bowl XLVIII, they did the unexpected and created a storm of activity on Twitter by offering a $1.5 million dollar sweepstakes to one lucky person who used the hashtag #EsuranceSave30.


The “Save 30” referred to the percentage of advertising dollars saved by running the announcement ad immediatly after the game instead of during.

The rules were basic:  Tweet “#EsuranceSave30” for a chance to win all of the money, with inappropriate tweets being deemed ineligible.

The winner was  picked 2 days later and the winner announced live on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television show.

This is an interesting promotion in a few ways:

It doesn’t require any interaction with the company.

Contest entrants do not need to register an entry, purchase any product, follow their Twitter handle or even be eligible to purchase their product.  The goal was simply to raise brand awareness and generate buzz.

It focused exclusively on Twitter.

Rather than launch a comprehensive social media campaign, Esurance decided that this major advertising campaign would only drive people to Twitter.


By leaving the contest entry so open-ended, Esurance risked that users would use their hashtag to subvert the contest by posting negative or offensive tweets.

This did happen to a certain extent:

So what metrics indicate success?

Lisa Ward at Esurance said to Information Week:

Our goal was to build brand awareness, and we felt that it was a unique opportunity to have an audience like that of 100 million people and to grab their attention for 30 seconds

Brand Awareness is difficult to measure, according to Spectate can be broken out into 3 categories:  Reach, Impressions and Engagement:


How did it do?

Adweek reported the following stats as provided by Esurance agency Leo Burnett:

  • 5.4 million uses of the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag.
  • More than 200,000 entries within the first minute of the Esurance commercial airing.
  • 1.4 million hashtag uses in the first hour and 4.5 million in the first 24 hours.
  • 2.6 billion social impressions on Twitter.
  • 332,000 views of the Esurance commercial on YouTube.
  • 261,000 new followers on the official Esurance Twitter account—an increase of nearly 3,000 percent.
  • A 12x spike in visits to the Esurance website in the first hours of the sweepstakes.


These numbers are especially impressive when compared to #BestBuds, another campaign run at the same time by Budweiser.

#EsuranceSave30 vs #BestBuds

Source: Simply Measured

The campaign was clearly a win for all Brand Awareness metrics.  Considering that people were choosing to visit their website and other social media avenues even though it was not necessary for contest entry is impressive.

Even more impressive, the hashtag #Esurancesave30 continues to be popular both with people who mistakenly believe that the sweepstakes is still continuing and to attach unrelated posts to a popular hashtag search.

Lessons for others:

Advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness through sweepstakes are not a new concept.  The lessons that can be learned in in how Esurance shaped the campaign through limits and risks:

  • Limited time:   The entire campaign from launch to winner announcement was only 36 hours.  Esurance bet (and won) that this shortened length of time would drive a frenzy of activity as people wanted to jump on this opportunity instead of taking a “maybe later when I have time” stance.
  • No intent to purchase required:  By not asking entrants to do anything other than tweet a hashtag, you can assume that a large portion of the entries were from people with zero interest in insurance products.  This can work if your only goal is brand awareness and paid off in the sheer volume of entries and buzz.
  • Blending of traditional and social media advertising:  As much as this was a social media marketing win, the reliance on traditional advertising for it’s success should not be ignored.  The kickoff was a slick commercial in a highly watched time-slot and the winning entry announcement was a partnership with a highly rated TV show.  I would not think this campaign would have been nearly as successful if it was run solely on social media channels, although perhaps in the future it could.
  • Twitter as a marketing tool:  By focusing solely on Twitter, Esurance risked leaving out a large segment of their potential customer base.  This risk paid off in the benefits of the flexibility this narrow focus allowed.

For additional information on using Twitter for your social media marketing, the podcast below very succinctly provides a high-level view of the potential benefits.

Submitted By: David Pearson

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