During the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, it may have been a disappointing lapse for hardcore football fans, but for Oreo, it was a prime chance to advertise. At 8:48 pm, within minutes of the blackout, Oreo tweeted a snappy, perfectly relevant ad that shot its brand to social media stardom, marvelled by all Super Bowl brands that day. The tweet is “Power out? No problem,” which then links the user to an Oreo ad with the copy, “you can still dunk in the dark.” Since then (as of March 19, 2012), it has been a viral hit - retweeted 16,072 times and favorited 6,212 times. The same image on Facebook has garnered over 20,000 likes. AdAge commented that it was “arguably the best ad of the game.”
The true brilliancy of this ad was its timely message design and message delivery channel. The Super Bowl is regarded as the most expensive advertising spot ($4 million per 30 second) of all time, as it is the most watched American television broadcast yearly with an audience of 111 million viewers. Subsequently, it attracts big brands to pay big bucks to have its commercial viewed alongside. Oreo cleverly leveraged this opportunity in a MUCH cheaper way. The channel is social media; the vehicle is Twitter. The Oreo graphic was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes” of the blackout. Decisions were made in real time. Oreo marketers devised a social media “mission control” center during the game.
This is a powerful example of the potential of social media as a viable communication channel – to reach millions with the cost of almost nothing (relative to TV ads in both production value and spot rates). Oreo’s stunt has effectively reached their current (those who follow Oreo on Twitter) and potential customers, reminding them that the Oreo brand is still relevant today. This example crossed the realm of television to the digital, showing the growing power of social media, challenging traditional channels and pushing advertising boundaries to a new age.
(Yuen Kuk Chung (Yvonne), 06303534, COMM335-1, article, message delivery, digital, social media)