One tweet after an unexpected blackout and social media marketing had changed forever. When Oreo and its marketing agency 360i capitalised on the sudden power outage during the Super Bowl XLVII and within minutes tweeted out a lonesome pic of an Oreo in the dark with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark”, it heralded the entry of real-time marketing in a big way (Contently 2015). From then on, countless brands have tried to re-create the magic with varying degrees of success.
Fig 1: The Oreo Super Bowl tweet
The ad was retweeted more than 15,000 times and gathered above 20,000 likes on Facebook (Wired 2013). It was a nifty piece of work which capitalized on the turning of attention of viewers from their television sets to their mobiles during the blackout. The simple tweet generated huge word of mouth with its instant response to an unexpected situation.
The story in the background:
While the tweet itself may have cost nothing and got huge brownie points for Oreo, the preparations were not at all free of cost. As it was Oreo’s 100th birthday year, they thought to kick off the birthday campaign at the Super Bowl. So, they had gathered a social media command center to respond to real-time events. The team consisted of copywriters, strategists, and artists ready to respond to any situation. When the sudden blackout came, Oreo found itself in a situation where they had several members of the brand team and the various marketing agencies of Oreo all in one place. (Forbes 2013). The team swung into action, messages flew fast, and out came the minimalist ad in about 10 minutes. It went on to win a Bronze Cleo award for innovative media (Business Insider 2013). Following this, Oreo launched a 100-day campaign called “Daily Twist” which utilized the same concept and commented on latest happenings, popular news or celebrations happening around the world daily (Mindjumpers 2012).
Fig 2: Oreo Twist Ad
While advertisers coughed up nearly $4 million for a spot during the games, having a war-room ready to engage interactively with viewers through social media seems like a good use of the money (Wired 2013). But the ROI of such one-time campaigns cannot be gauged so easily while the investments and preparations needed were all too clear. Combine that with the fact that not many companies subsequently have been able to recreate the Oreo magic even after putting in a lot of effort and result is that marketers are now divided upon whether to follow down this path or not (Marketing Magazine 2015). Oreo was at the right time in the right place with the right brains, and with a generous dollop happenstance, succeeded in creating something novel in the nick of time. But the subsequent barrage of failed tries and missed shots in real-time marketing prompted AdAge to write “Go Home, Real-Time Marketing. You’re Drunk” (Adage 2014).
But has it has really caught on?
Oreo may have brought the real-time marketing phenomenon to the limelight, but others have not been able to gauge the whole extent of its usefulness. Instead, the mad race to real-time marketing glory continued repeating what Oreo did, tweeting pics of things relating to any spectacular news whenever possible. Understandably, the novelty of the approach wore off with time. Today, it is nothing new for customers to expect media savvy companies to engage in this manner. In reality, social media, mobile devices and messaging apps are not the only avenues for real-time marketing. Even a company’s website and emails can be a focus area (Sam 2016). To succeed, real-time marketing efforts have to focus on reach and frequency as key performance indicators instead of the monetary value of customers. They have to move away from their single-minded focus on twitter (and associated social media) and focus on creating integrated content that speaks a single voice across communication channels and creates coherent messages instead of just capitalizing on unrelated moments across time.
Student I.D: 214470099
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Figure 1: The Oreo Super Bowl tweet, retrieved 4 May 2016, < https://contently.com/strategist/2015/02/20/oreo-the-oscars-and-real-time-marketing-how-dunk-in-the-dark-helped-and-harmed-the-brand-newsroom/>
Figure 2: Oreo Twist Ad, retrieved 4 May 2016, < http://www.mindjumpers.com/blog/2012/10/oreo-daily-twist/>
Videos: How Oreo Stole the Super Bowl Spotlight 2013, YouTube, Wall Street Journal, 4 February, retrieved 4 May 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw9RSXaTFhA>