Case Study: Why StubHub’s Super Bowl Campaign Failed

Besides the game itself, people get excited to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. But as social media has exploded, many advertisers are taking their video ads to YouTube or other social media outlets to gain exposure with the hopes of going viral.  So when I stumbled across this StubHub video, I was intrigued enough to click on it, but something was missing. See if you can tell what it is:

That video was updated 4 days prior and yet, less than a two dozen entries. #stubhubTD

Just because you have a good video, doesn’t mean that it will be successful or go viral. There are a few reasons why this campaign was a failure:

  1. The headline/title of the video was not catchy: #StubHubTD Dance Contest. No one is a) looking for that hashtag or that phrase on YouTube without hearing about it first. b) And in order for that to happen, you need to put social advertising $$ behind that to promote it on social or get people to write or blog about it. But regardless, you still have #2 to contend with.

    StubHub Dance Contest

  2. Video contests are hard. Period. NO ONE wants to be the first to enter  a video contest. On their website, StubHub uploaded a dozen or so employee videos, but they failed at uploading any of the user generated videos to their website (at the time of this posting). AND, there were no, and I repeat, NO SOCIAL SHARING ICONS on their website. #social101


  3. Lots of ways to enter and yet, they excluded Facebook as a means of entering? While it’s interesting to offer multiple ways to enter a contest, it’s also confusing as to where the contest really resides. It’s a video contest, so it shouldn’t matter how I upload my video (Vine, Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram), only where I upload my video. And by having multiple places to upload your video and not one central place, they lose any momentum they hoped to have/had. They would have been better off to build a Facebook app and let folks upload their video directly to the app. (As a side note, interestingly enough, you only have to be following their Instagram feed. But you don’t need to follow them on Twitter, Vine, or YouTube to enter.)


  4. StubHub didn’t engage with any of the entries. Not even a “thumbs up” on YouTube or a heart on Instagram. :(

There were around 12-20 viable entries across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine when I looked at the time of this blog post. The  funniest ones were these:

  • – this one wins for cuteness!



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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.