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Esurance’s $1.5 Million Giveaway Is Making Twitter Go Crazy

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While advertisers like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola and Hyundai targeted the 100-million-plus viewers of Sunday’s Super Bowl, auto insurance company Esurance has mixed a traditional TV commercial, a prominent Twitter hashtag and a good old-fashioned sweepstakes to take over social media today.

The company is giving away $1.5 million to a single Twitter user who tweets the hashtag #EsuranceSave30 between 4 p.m. Eastern Sunday and 4 a.m. Eastern Tuesday. The dollar figure is the amount Esurance says it saved by airing a TV commercial featuring The Office star John Krasinski right after the Super Bowl ended instead of during the game. It’s the most money that has ever been given out through a Twitter contest, according to Esurance.

Esurance spokesman Danny Miller said the contest had already received 2 million entries in less than 24 hours (individual users can submit multiple entries). 200,000 of the tweets came in the minute after the post-Super Bowl commercial aired. #EsuranceSave30 was the top trending topic in the United States through much of Sunday night and Monday morning. The company’s Twitter following has also exploded, growing from 8,900 to more than 110,000.

The contest so far seems to have been a boon for both Esurance and for Twitter, which is once again proving itself to be a much-discussed marketing platform in the aftermath the Super Bowl. Last year, a well-timed tweet by Oreo during a blackout in the game’s second half garnered more media attention than any televised commercial. “We are making the sweepstakes exclusive to Twitter, because it’s easy, it’s modern, free to sign up, and is a great fit for the Esurance brand,” Miller said in an emailed statement.

By creating such an open contest, Esurance has opened the floodgates for anyone and everyone to enter, including people that might attach offensive messages to the #EsuranceSave30 hashtag. That’s already happening, to some extent. The company is hedging its bets against accidentally giving the money to an unsavory character by stipulating that the winner is subject to a background check and may not receive the money if they’ve done anything that might “embarrass the Sponsor’s brand in planned media and publicity activities.”

The Esurance contest is for U.S. residents only, excluding residents of Hawaii and Alaska. The winner will be publicly announced Wednesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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