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Speed Wins

February 11, 2013

When Jacoby Jones took off for a 108-yard touchdown run to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVII, we couldn’t imagine that his display of speed and cunning would be matched a few minutes later by a group of marketing communications pros in a “war room” in Manhattan. But it was.

When the stadium lights went out in the second half of the Big Game, a crew of social media types scrambled for only four minutes before posting a promoted Tweet that drew thousands of retweets and “likes.” A photo of an Oreo cookie in a half-lit, half-dark frame, the Tweet read, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Although Tide was close on Oreo’s heels with a Tweet that said, “We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out,” and Walgreens was quick with, “We do carry candles,” Oreo scored the most attention.

It didn’t hurt that Oreo’s ad agencies – 360i and MediaVest – were ready for action. They had set up a “war room” and manned it with social media types to seize opportunities that might come along during the game. They couldn’t have imagined the opportunity that flickered into sight during the second half, but that’s part of what makes the response so impressive.

Of course, you can’t always (or perhaps ever) afford to pay big-agency types to sit around just in case an opportunity presents itself, but that doesn’t the Oreo Super Bowl reaction has nothing to teach you. Here are some things any of us can learn from Oreo, big ad budget or not.

  • Embrace speed. Oreo had established itself as a fast-moving, topical Tweeter with its “Daily Twist” campaign, a celebration of its 100th anniversary in which it responded to daily news. As 360i put it in a description of the campaign, “From the momentous Mars Rover landing to the rapid rise of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video, Oreo was in the thick of it.” This mindset – which is available to anyone who’s willing to adopt it – created an attention-getting campaign.
  • Create an infrastructure. To make the Daily Twist possible, Oreo built a team and the technology to go social with events as they happen. While you probably won’t be able to create a war room dedicated to breaking-news Tweets, you can make sure you have the pieces in place to move quickly when opportunities arise. Even one person assigned to each potentially newsmaking event presents opportunities.  
  • Condense the approval process. Here’s how the approval scenario too often plays out when a media team tries to act fast: Someone sees an opportunity and creates a response. Then he or she sends it up the ladder. At Rung One, it might get blessed and forwarded to the next level. At Rung Two, someone calls in a couple of others to discuss it. They ask for more information, and scrutinize every word and image. (Meanwhile, precious time ticks away). Finally satisfied, they push it up to the next rung – where the decision maker can’t be reached (tick-tock), or doesn’t get the message. When that Big Boss finally sees it, he/she ponders and stews, asks for more information (tick-tock), calls a quick meeting (tick-tock, tick-tock) … and so on. If subjected to this process, Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet might still be languishing, in draft No. 15, in some middle manager’s email, slowly dying a death of irrelevancy.
  • Have fun. Clever works. When the lights went out in New Orleans, even stodgy old Mercedes Benz tweeted that it was “sending some LEDS to the Superdome right now…” Don’t be afraid to stick your tongue in your cheek. People remember funny.
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