Oreo, The Super Bowl and Real-Time Twitter Marketing

Sunday was the Super Bowl and the marketing spectacle that goes along with it. But the most exciting thing to happen in marketing on Sunday did not happen on the television screen. Despite the millions spent producing, placing and promoting 30 second spots, the Super Bowl marketing winner was a very simple and inexpensive image posted on Twitter.

Twitter has always been the foremost real-time social news stream. When it comes to breaking news, even the traditional news stations rely on it for the latest information. Because of its tens of millions of users and the crowd-sourced nature of its workings there is almost always someone around at a news event with a Twitter account.

What I learned Sunday, however, is that Twitter is also a powerful real-time marketing engine. When the lights went out in the Super Dome in the third quarter of the game it was a startling development. Immediately Twitter came alive with tweets about the lights. Within minuets a “superdomelights” account was created and started tweeting. This is classic Twitter, responding in real-time to a hot news event.

Than a tweet from @oreo


This very simple and clever image, created in just a few minuets, perfectly captured the situation and provided a humorous break in the monotony of waiting for the lights to come back on. This tweet was retweeted over ten thousand times in the first hour. Its also being blogged about relentlessly today. What’s better it cost Oreo virtually zero to produce and distribute. Hows that ROI vs a 4 million dollar 30 second ad?

I think we will see more “strike teams” put in place during known big events to take advantage of these real-time marketing opportunities. The key, though, is to be relevant but not look like you’re trying too hard. Oreo hit that perfect balance which is why it worked so well.

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