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Oreos, Twitter, and Power Outages: The Trifecta of Super Bowl Sunday

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It wouldn’t be “Super Monday” if everyone didn’t throw in their two cents regarding the Super Bowl, its ads, and this year, the power outage.  Side note: who wants to bet that next year any gambling on the Super Bowl will include concessions for power outages?

When I logged into Ad Age this morning, I was expected to be met with a wall of ad recaps and I wasn’t disappointed.  What was going to start as a disgruntled post about how most of the ads were lackluster and,”If I was going to spend $4 million on a 30-second spot I’d want a little more pizzazz” changed into a “Holy bejeezus, check out the power of social media” post.  During the power outage in New Orleans, the smart marketers jumped to create real-time ads via Twitter.  Nat Ives, Rupal Parekh and other Ad Age staffers compiled companies’ Tweets during the power outage.  In their article, “Marketers Jump on Super Bowl Blackout With Real-Time Twitter Campaigns,”  they write about Oreo:

“Power out?” Oreo posted to Twitter. “No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet was retweeted 10,000 times within one hour.

In the Super Bowl of ads, Oreo wins at life.  10,000 retweets in an hour.  An HOUR.  And it cost Oreo basically nothing because they used the internet.

The Oreo graphic was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes,” according to Sarah Hofstetter, president of the cookie brand’s digital agency of record, Dentsu-owned 360i. All the decisions were made in real time quickly because marketers and agency members were sitting together at a “mission control” center, or a social-media war room of sorts, at the agency’s headquarters in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan. Among those who were there were two brand team members from Oreo, and nearly a dozen creatives, strategists, community managers and social-media listeners.

While Oreo isn’t the only brand to jump aboard the Twitter train–Tide, VW, Audi, Speed Stick, and Bud Light got a piece of the action–its effort was impressive.  Granted, everyone was whipped into a frenzy and wanted to take advantage of thousands of Tweeters making Bane jokes.  Tide created a graphic that looked similar to an ad, but in my opinion, Oreo took the cake–er, cookie on making it look like they took time and put the ad together days prior just in case something like this would happen.  Oreo pulled together an advertisement that stuck with the brand’s personality and was consistent with the other efforts put forth by the company.

This is why you need someone on stand-by in case you need to create an ad, get approval, and disseminate it in a matter of minutes.  This is also why brands need to harness the power of social media.  It is quick and cost effective.  You can have a two-way conversation with customers or broadcast your brand’s message to thousands of users at once.  Social media is also a great barometer to check in on customer’s thoughts; a big part of social media advertising is using it as a tool to monitor reactions.

Last night’s effort during the Super Bowl highlighted the versatility of social media and the unpredictable nature that comes with the industry.  You work for months on a 30-second spot that you spend millions of dollars of the budget on and yet you get showed up by a simple Tweet and a cookie.


Author: Angelica Ross

Coffee addict, Post-It aficionado, Sharpie fanatic. I live and work in Pittsburgh, pin lots of recipes I'll never make, and I love the Oxford comma. Sometimes I write about advertising, other times I write about general life happenings; no matter what, I always try to entertain.

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