The best Super Bowl ads weren't on during the game

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 10:21 p.m.

Brands have figured out how to get Super Bowl buzz without paying Super Bowl bucks.

Some of the companies that had the most success during the game were not official sponsors.

Newcastle beer created a hit online campaign spoofing the self-importance of Super Bowl ads. J.C. Penney generated attention on Twitter by posting nonsensical tweets during the game. And Esurance grabbed the spotlight by offering to give away $1.5 million in an ad that aired just after the game ended.

Advertisers started realizing the power of social media last year when Oreo seized the opportunity as the game was interrupted by a 34-minute power outage. The cookie maker posted a pic of an Oreo partially in the dark and tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was re-tweeted and mentioned on Facebook thousands of times.

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