How a bite by Luis Suarez became one of the most viral stories of the World Cup 2014

Two weeks into the FIFA World Cup 2014, the biggest social media event of the year, it's time for the first big viral story brands were waiting for. It was not Colombia's 4-1 triumph, nor a new meme of Miguel Herrera catching his goalkeeper, the story that spread like a fire across the social web during the past 24 hours was about Uruguay's player Luis Suarez who furiously bit his opponent in the shoulder during the match. 

Despite his team's success during yesterday's World Cup match, Luis Suarrez is probably not the happiest when reading today's headlines. In fact, he might get a punishment for his actions by FIFA officials shortly. On the other side Snickers, McDonalds Uruguay and Bud Light can celebrate their success on social. They used the moment to their advantage, reacted fast and got a big piece of the traffic pie.

Let's take a closer look at the three winners on Twitter

Only about 30 min after the incident happened, McDonald's Uruguay sent out the following tweet, securing the most retweets and favorites of the night.

McDonald’s Uruguay was quickly followed by Bud Light that used the hashtags #bite and #ITAvsURU in combination with a cut-off selfie.

Despite being a little late to the game, Snickers gained another huge chunk of engagement with their nicely designed photo and creative copy.

Also take a look at the @replies for the brands in comparison to the handle of the soccer player.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-06-25 um 17.21.43

Comparing Twitter replies versus hashtags, the clear winner is the direct reply to @luis16suarez. This also explains the big success of McDonald's Uruguay and Snickers. It was a smart decision not to focus on hashtags for this stunt because they were all over the place and it was difficult to identify the most popular one. Besides plain text and pictures, it would have been great to see more creative content like GIFs, which can now be shared on Twitter as well. The fans themselves went all in and showed their creativity with some hilarious memes. If you want to give it a try too, Meme Generator now offers Luis Suarez branded designs.

The event highlights once more that the brands who react fast and do their job well can get a lot out of it, no matter if they have 20k or 100k followers. If you are interested in the overall traffic that the "Bite" generated, here is a real-time heatmap shared from Twitter. Twitter Reverb also published the top four tweets by mentions talking about Suarez.

Did you see any other good or bad examples of brands that joined the conversation? Let us know via @sparkloft

Update 06/26: FIFA suspended Luis Suarez for 4 months and 9 international games.