4 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Oreo

February 14, 2013: Melissa Caravella, Senior Writer/Content Strategist

Milk’s favorite cookie manufacturer made a marketing splash during Super Bowl XLVII’s now-infamous “blackout.” When the power went out in the Superdome, football fans flocked to social media, creating the game’s second largest spike in social activity—Beyoncé’s halftime show topped the charts—with 231,500 tweets per minute, or TPM, according to Twitter. Oreo’s marketing team, on the other hand, sprang into action, tweeting an image of a lone cookie lighting the darkness with the simple phrase, “You can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet was retweeted 10,000 times in one hour, according to AdAge, and the image has more than 21,000 Facebook likes to date.
While the debate spurred by Oreo’s TV commercial (the cream or the cookie??) wages on, here’s what you can learn from the tweet heard around the world:
  1. Be prepared. By having their creative team and decision makers in the same room during the game, Oreo was able to quickly design, caption and approve the ad, which enabled quick action.
  2. Recognize an opportunity. The blackout began around 7:38 CST, and Oreo tweeted the ad mere minutes later. Oreo anticipated their audience’s actions and communicated to them where they were, which was what ultimately made their tweet so successful.
  3. Use your budget wisely. On a day when advertisers spent $3.8 million on 30-second TV spots during the game, Oreo’s largest impact wasn’t made by their TV commercial, but instead through a relatively low-cost—but well-placed and well-timed—social media outlet. While naysayers may point out that 16,000+ total retweets don’t compare to TV time in front of 100 million people, it’s Oreo’s tweet that people have continued to talk about more than a week after the game ended.
  4. Be social—now. Oreo’s tweet may have had much less impact if they hadn’t already had a social media presence and cultivated a following. Prepping their market for social media engagement made their timely tweet that much more effective. Not sold on the power of social? According to Twitter, the big brands are—more than 50 percent of the 52 national TV commercials during the game featured hashtags this year.
Personally, as a 49ers fan, I’m glad this year’s Superbowl had another clear winner!

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