EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Esurance bypassed the traditional marketing model this Super Bowl Sunday, and used the $1.5 million it says it didn't spend on coveted mid-game advertising real estate to start a sweepstakes for Twitter users.
The online car insurance company aired its commercial after the big game, a cheaper time slot for advertisers. In the ad, actor John Krasinski announces that Esurance would give the money saved to one Twitter user who tweets the hashtag "#EsuranceSave30" between 4 p.m. Eastern Sunday and 4 a.m. Eastern Tuesday.
The gimmick made Esurance the most talked-about brand on Twitter on Sunday, with 230,000 of the 2 million tweets occurring within one minute of the commercial.
Esurance seemed undaunted by the myriad of Twitter users who issued inappropriate messages alongside the company's hashtag.
"Social media is unfiltered," Nancy Abraham, Esurance's vice president of advertising, told the Wall Street Journal. She said the "overwhelming response has been positive," though the company expected some negative commentary.
The contest winner will be announced Wednesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live.