During the Superbowl on Sunday, there was a little glitch with the lights. They went out. We’re talking blackout. Within minutes, Oreo released the above image across several key social media channels. Not Duracell, not Energizer, not G.E…. Oreo.
Clever. And it paid off for the brand.
Why was this a win? Four interwoven reasons: Velocity, relevance, wit and execution.
Wit, relevance and execution, most ad agencies can handle. Velocity, on the the other hand (generating ad-quality content and publishing it as meme-like social content), not so much. That’s still rare.
I want you to think about obstacles vs. enablement.
I want you to think about culture and operational agility.
Something like this doesn’t happen by accident. You have to have the right people in place, the right presence on key channels, the right support from management, the right kind of relationship with your community, and an eye towards real-time community management and content creation.
How many levels of approvals and sign-off do you think that image had to go through before getting the okay? Judging by the speed with which it appeared on the interwebs when the lights at the Superdome went out, not many. How did Oreo pull that off?
1. At some point, Oreo decided it needed a nimble, agile, self-sufficient social media team.
2. At some point, Oreo decided to trust that team to do its job without having to micromanage it.
Easier said than done? Sure. But only by fine margins. Want to guess what separates Oreo from other companies that haven’t been able to do this yet? They hired the right people.
Instead of assigning social media duties to some intern or the cheapest content creation team they could find, they made sure that the people running that piece of their digital business were witty, capable, professional people who understand brand voice, who understand their fans, and who understand how memes and social marketing work.
This happened because the right people were hired and then allowed to do their job.
We can talk about tools, we can talk about processes, we can talk about platforms, but Oreo’s real genius can be traced straight back to having the right people in place.
If you want to celebrate brand management and superbowl advertising secret sauce today, the two words you should keep in mind are velocity and competence.
Here’s how they did it. (via Buzzfeed)
Whether or not this ultimately translates to business growth, well played, Oreo. Well played.
Let’s close with two simple graphs:
1. Immediate impact on Twitter:
(Feel free to compare this graph with those of every Super Bowl advertiser.)
2. Impact of Twitter on conversations about the Super Bowl:
See that enormous horizontal blue line up there? That’s the volume of Twitter mentions against Facebook, Instagram, blogs and news for the same time frame. [source]
Long term, platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram are probably stronger bets for stickiness and reach, but in terms of real-time impact (especially during events), Twitter matters. It matters a lot.
PS: You’ll want to read this too. (Real-time marketing) by David Armano.
* * *
If you’re interested in how to make something like that happen, then convert that attention into real sales, pick up a copy of Social Media R.O.I.: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. The book is 300 pages of facts and proven best practices that explain how to do what Oreo just did – and then some. (Go to smroi.net to sample a free chapter first, just to make sure it’s worth the money.)
And if English isn’t your first language, you can even get it in Spanish, Japanese, German, Korean and Italian now, with more international editions on the way.
CEO-Read – Amazon.com – www.smroi.net – Barnes & Noble – Que
Re: the comment of hire smart people …yes, yes and yes again! This is the shortest path to digital marketing success (http://goo.gl/QZiYb). Talent matters, a lot.
No questions about talent…it rules the day…
I fell asleep during the blackout given that here in Puerto Rico its an hour later than the east coast and I had a very occupied sunday I missed this and the 1/2 of the super bowl.
On the other note I have to agree with you it takes some very witty folks to be able to post something like this with such a quick response time.
Being tactical vs. Strategic is where many people miss out. I understood that a lot better when reading your book.
So many people focus on strategy but don’t focus it on the tactics.
Being that Oreo is a vegan treat I have to say it was purely awesome to see something like this take off.
Oreo is vegan? I had no idea. That’s pretty cool.
Yes it is Vegan. I had to go in and do research when I heard it was. Because vegan does not necessarily mean healthy all the time.
Last week I was training a client on their new website and how to work with all the plugins and stuff we added on wordpress. I forgot my snacks and I was lucky enough their snack of choice is oreos.
Interesting that State Farm also opportunistically tweeted:
A power outage can happen at the most unexpected times. Learn how you can be prepared in your home. http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/residence/safety-1/power-outage-tips/ …
But it apparently didn’t get picked up the way Oreo’s did. Interesting to speculate why.
Because it lacked context. Oreo already had a social (one might say “viral”) campaign going on with images similar to the one they used during the outage. A tweet or some bullet points aren’t going to be shared as quickly as a meme-style image. Oreo capitalized on their campaign’s existing mechanics and momentum.
Also because State Farm’s wasn’t witty or cute. 🙂
Oreo were well-placed to execute this because they had spent the past year doing exactly that; coming up with daily riffs on their brand based on what was happening in popular culture – it was called the Oreo Daily Twist: http://bit.ly/XSxqf8
People in the old days this was called “news value” and I don’t think it is a simple as hiring the right people and getting out of the way. It is having a culture that allows the entire organization to be nimble, think fast, and act quickly. Nice post
Ideally, sure, but in the case of Oreo, we’re not looking at an entire organization. This was a small group of people. I totally agree though: if the entire org can be like this, you’ve got yourself a winner. Zappos and Starbucks may be soft examples of that. I’ve run into small businesses that are 100% built that way.
Being nimble is the holy grail of big-brand social marketing. It is layers and layers of approval that kill great ideas, destroy game-changing campaigns, and most importantly, stifle progress.
When a brand puts trust in individuals who BOTH understand the brand AND understand modern communicative technology, Oreo ads happen.
Humble-brag…. so do IBMblrs 😉
Imagine if you were a heavily regulated industry… like banking or healthcare. It might be a little more difficult. But yeah… most companies could do this if they wanted to. If you surround yourself with good people, you don’t really have to worry about them making stupid mistakes.
From Buzzfeed, talking about the work 360i and Oreo did on this.
“You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic,” (360i’s) Hofstetter said.
In addition to your “context” thought above, I think “brave” gave them the velocity necessary to pull this off. You may recall that they had the multi-colored (read: “gay rainbow”) Oreo that angered some, but was pretty brave. Am sure they learned from that and realized what buttons they can/cannot push.
Bravery makes velocity easier.
Courage/bravery is a sign of real leadership (not just management).
“And it PAYED off for the brand.”
What’s that about competence?
Thanks, Corey. Your feedback is very constructive.
What is crazy is how damn hard it is for a brand (Oreo) to act a tiny bit human. Kudos to them for doing it.
Oddly for me Olivier I was not aware, nor had I seen any of Oreo’s other pieces in their current campaign. It to me was brilliant on it’s own.
I also think that even though Farmer’s responded quickly, theirs felt self serving, where as Oreo’s felt genuinely funny.
Oreo found a succinct way to get the marketing across and add humor to the power outage. There are so many things people can do when the lights go off, but everyone pauses thinking the worst has happened. It was a great move by Oreo and their social media team.
Interestingly enough Duracell did release a similar type of Tweet & Facebook post on Sunday. https://www.facebook.com/duracell. However, you’re spot on in that it lacked wit and execution to make it as successful as Oreo’s.
A strong relationship built on trust allows this sort of magic to happen. Most teams today can’t steer away from micromanaging and that’s where the fault lines are.
Reblogged this on EXiT Realty Integrity Group – Snellville Real Estate Advantage and commented:
I thought this was SO relevant in support real estate professionals take their businesses to the next level and using great marketing to do it! Take a lesson from Oreo and catapult your business to the next level! We have launched our 2013 Lunch & Learn Series here in our Snellville Office! Once all of the kinks are worked out, you will be invited to join us even online. The goal of these sessions are support Real Estate Professionals in putting their knowledge to work immediately! Our first one is “Creating an Effective Blog for Your Real Estate Business in 30 Mins or Less”, Wed., 2/20 @ 12noon. Space is limited & lunch is provided. RSVP to attend.
Agility. Agility. It’s amazing what companies can accomplish just by having the right tools in place to take advantage of opportunities as they arise in this real-time world. There’s a lot of preparation in luck! 🙂
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