Monday’s solar eclipse may have united millions of Americans in staring (not directly) into the sun. But for corporations and those unable, or unwilling, to view the event itself, the payoff wasn’t in the sky but on Twitter.
Numerous brands tried to participate in the cosmic energy of the day by working themselves into the celebrations, with results ranging from awkward to acceptably savvy to hilarious.
The day’s winner was undoubtedly Moon Pies, which, after Hostess declared its Golden Cupcakes to be “the official snack of the eclipse,” reminded everyone of the appropriateness of its brand for the occasion with this simple, viral own:
But Hostess can be forgiven for trying to draw attention to its product — after all, it was hardly alone:
Some of the efforts were downright wince-inducing…
…while others at least made us smile.
crepuscule— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) August 21, 2017
Vocabulary thrives in darkness. https://t.co/YlOgqfUAMX
A number of brands also had special eclipse-related promotions for the big day, ranging from obliviously corny to knowingly so:
monday? more like moon-moving-in-front-of-the-sun-day. you know…the eclipse? we’ll be selling super realistic moon-shaped pancakes. pic.twitter.com/IQkNndpvI6— Denny's (@DennysDiner) August 21, 2017
Not even Vox was immune, taking the opportunity to launch a hashtag inviting readers to summarize their eclipse experience in six words or less, with results ranging from inspirational to hilarious:
But of course, nothing was going to upstage the event itself. NASA’s live stream of the event crossed the country and ranged from national parks to college science labs.
The live streams also provided plenty of surreal moments when translated for Twitter:
a woman on a news livestream just said "it's so amazing that we live at the same time as the moon" and i want to be like, girl what— #rachelsyme (@rachsyme) August 21, 2017
NASA’s was far from the only eclipse live stream in the game, though, with many news and media organizations providing their own spin on the event. Perhaps the weirdest live stream award goes to the Washington Post’s Facebook stream of a goat farm to determine if fainting goats would panic and faint during the eclipse:
(As it turned out, they did not.)
As the eclipse traversed the United States, social media also provided a way to follow the event, albeit from a few more degrees of removal. With eclipse-viewing glasses sold out everywhere, social media users took to photographing the eclipse through whatever filter was handy:
On the ground, participants ranged from doomsaying dinosaurs to people trying hard to turn eclipse headgear into cosplay:
It was also a good day for folkloric horror — though perhaps that was to be expected:
PSA: if any of you discover a new form of plant immediately after the total eclipse of the sun DESTROY IT IMMEDIATELY DO NOT GIVE IT BLOOD— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) August 21, 2017
something's wrong— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) August 21, 2017
my bird army should have risen by now
There's a guy in this coffee shop who literally just said, "Did it start yet?" then walked outside, looked straight up, and screamed.— Robin Wasserman (@robinwasserman) August 21, 2017
The eclipse was cool. Who else got powers— Anthony Clark (@nedroid) August 21, 2017
Meanwhile, numerous “sun” and “moon” accounts went to faux war with one another, including NASA’s accounts and some other unofficial rogue stellar satellites — culminating in this viral tweet from, who else? DaMoon:
Finally, politics remained on everyone’s minds — though with a snarkier bent than usual. In the middle of everyone encouraging those of opposite political affiliation to please, go ahead and stare directly at the sun, some took the opportunity to put the moment in historical context:
The sun never went out when Obama was president, is all I'm saying— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 21, 2017
All in all, it was a rare moment of unity for a country that has appeared to grow increasingly divided this year. So it makes sense that it was a juggernaut day for advertising as well — the rare day when, like the nation itself, marketing and social media could come together as one.