How Oreo Took Advantage of a Super Bowl Blunder (and How You Can Learn from It)

As most of us know, this year’s Super Bowl had an extra talking point aside from the great game, the halftime show and the commercials: a 34 minute blackout, as the Super Dome lost half of its power supply.

Leave it to social media to discuss the event in real-time…usually in a joking manner. However, many people on Twitter saw genius real-time marketing in action.  A clever and quick thinking marketing strategy on behalf of Oreo cookies got just as much discussion the following morning as the most controversial of Super Bowl ads.

Oreo_logoThe marketing team behind the Oreo brand created a simple yet effective—and extremely timely—ad that went viral on Twitter. Posted during the blackout and shared more than 15,000 times, the ad features a single Oreo cookie on a dark background. The brief yet witty text stated: “You can still dunk in the dark.”

Savvy marketers were discussing the effectiveness of this message the next morning mainly because of its popularity. In 10 minutes or so, this popular ad was created and distributed via Twitter basically for free.  So what does that say about these multi-million dollar commercials, many of which were very vocally despised the morning after?

Some are saying this hints at a new surge in real-time advertising. Sure, a well-planned commercial with an enormous budget can out your brand on the map, but due to social media, achieving advertising success no longer takes an empty wallet and coveted advertising space.

This year, more than 24.1 million posts were made on Twitter during the Super Bowl. That’s an increase of nearly 14 million from last year. When you consider that a small fraction of these tweets were for advertising purpose—somehow relate to the Super Bowl in some form or another—this highlights an obvious trend in Twitter’s popularity during live events. It’s notable that Twitter usage also boasted large numbers during the latest presidential election and the Olympics.

More than that, just about half of all commercials that aired during the Super Bowl featured a Twitter handle or hashtag for the product.

Perhaps the marketing team at Oreo knew to look for any opportunity to use social media to get a buzz around their product. The blackout certainly offered them the chance for that.

Do you have a product or a brand that could be easily accessed and advertised in a real-time environment? If not, it seems that now is the time to start thinking of a way to adapt to this growing trend.


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