Social Media

How Oreo Won the Social Media Bowl with a Single Piece of Content

February 4, 2013

Amid the tens of thousands of re-tweets and mentions of our client Oreo last night, there was this gem: “The lights went out and a new era in advertising was born.” Last night wasn’t the first time a brand had employed a real-time approach, but perhaps for the first time people could truly grasp its power.

Sometimes powerful content is created over months – long-form labors of love that are the result of hours upon hours of investment. Other times, it’s the result of a mindset and a rapid reaction. The fact of the matter is, advertising today is a bit of both. As Bonin Bough, VP of Global Media & Consumer Engagement at Mondelēz (Oreo’s parent company) preemptively put it in this pre-Big Game byline, “It’s not just about the creative, but how creatively you use it.”

Long before the Superdome lost power, Oreo had already laid a foundation for real-time, responsive marketing. The brand’s brave – yet always strategic – social media mentality captured a lot of attention with this summer’s Daily Twist campaign, which commemorated the brand’s centennial with a new piece of content shared every single day for 100 days. Building off that success was a Super Bowl spot that extended to Instagram, where viewers could watch artists recreate their photos with cookie or crème in real time.

Beyond the events a brand can plan for are the naturally occurring social phenomena that rise up in culture every single day. These unexpected “events” inside of larger events are often the fodder of the most buzz, and therefore provide brands with an opportunity to join the conversation.

So, when viewers and commentators alike grappled with an unforeseen break in the middle of Super Bowl XLVII, we saw an opportunity to enter the dialogue in a way that would garner the attention and respect of Oreo’s audience. Given the lapse in game-play, the timing was perfect to own the moment.

Logistically, this type of real-time content creation involved setting up a central command center at our offices in New York with representation from strategy, creative, community, tech and account. Also seated at the table: key brand execs from Oreo. Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i, explains in BuzzFeed:

“We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity,” agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. “Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes.”

Oreo had already aired a solid TV ad with their “Cookie or Crème” spot. But they were ready to capitalize on social media as well when the lights went out.

“The big question is, what happens when everything changes, when you go off script?,” Hofstetter said. “That was where it got fun.”

The key? Having OREO executives in the room, and ready to pull the trigger.

“You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic,” Hofstetter said.

A real-time approach requires an intrepid brand that understands social and is willing to take calculated, strategic risks. We’re proud and grateful to have such a partner in Oreo.