Oreo’s Real-time Marketing Triumph Lives on 10 years later

Do you dunk or twist?

On these next few episodes of the Brands & Campaigns podcast, we are talking about dunking in the dark. These captivating episodes unravel the story behind Oreo’s legendary Super Bowl Tweet, a shining example of real-time marketing brilliance. Discover how Oreo seized an unexpected moment to create a viral sensation, connecting with audiences in a witty and unforgettable way.

In episode 6 of Brands & Campaigns, host Camden Bernatz talked to Mike Nuzzo who worked as a creative director at Oreo’s agency 360i during the 2013 Superbowl game that experienced a blackout. In episode 7, Camden was joined by EKR Director Jacqueline Crane, who has a background in PR and content and helps add additional commentary.

A Blackout at the 2013 Superbowl

In 2013, Oreo had a spot that was going to air in the Superbowl, they had their 100th birthday for the brand and they had a creative team on stand by watching the big game and ready to act — a concept that was new to the time. Today, this concept is called real-time marketing.

After the lights went out, they sprang into action with a history-making tweet that said, “Power out?” “No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet would be retweeted over 10,000 times within the hour. Mike Nuzzo was on the creative team at the time and tells us the inside scoop of what really happened that night.

This real-time response showcased Oreo’s agility and ability to adapt to unexpected situations, making it a prime example of how brands can leverage real-time moments to create memorable content.

The Oreo Newsroom for Real-time Marketing

Nuzzo told podcast host Camden Bernatz that the team took a newsroom-type approach. They were looking at the news frequently and asking themselves “What can we talk about today?” So when the Superbowl happened and the lights went out the team turned to each other and said they should do something. The creative itself was something they were playing around with for another project and was easy to pull and make work.

Oreo’s swift response exemplified the power of real-time engagement, emphasizing the importance of staying agile and adapting to unforeseen circumstances. The tweet resonated with audiences by referencing the blackout and the popular Oreo-dunking ritual, making it relatable and impactful. The readiness to respond in real-time was a game-changer, and it’s something that brands still strive to emulate today.

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Can Anyone Go Viral?

The tweet, “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark,” was not just a clever quip; it was a testament to the power of entertaining an audience through social media.

Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet underscores several crucial marketing principles. Oreo prioritized an emotional connection with its audience by conversing with them in an unexpected situation. The tweet leveraged a cultural moment to make the campaign relatable and impactful. Oreo stayed true to its brand identity by maintaining a playful and lighthearted tone, resonating with audiences on a deeper level.

Even 10 years later, this tweet is being talked about. It’s taught in university classrooms and present as a case study for students and businesses to learn from.

A Dunk in Today’s Social Media Landscape

As PR Director Jacqueline Crane sits down with Camden in episode 7, they discuss today’s media landscape. Would Oreo’s tweet survive in today’s social world? They say it would not. Why?

Social media is everchanging and adaptation and experimentation are crucial. One static image from 2013 most likely would not survive, let along go virla because we work with video now. Video Reels, multi-photo carousels, TikTok dances, and Ice bucket challenges. There’s a level of entertainment that audiences expect from social media today.

So as you reflect on Oreo, take the marketing principles presented and apply it within today’s social media capabilities to see what could be your next big break.

For those interested in learning more about this campaign and other clever marketing strategies, listen to the Brands & Campaigns podcast.

If you need marketing assistance, contact EKR.

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