How one tweet showed us the light

Facebook and Twitter are no longer content to take a back seat. Finally, brands and agencies are taking notice and advantage by producing fantastic content that is, at its best, timely, humorous, sentimental and uber-shareable.

One of the best examples in recent memory is Oreo’s “carpe diem” moment during this year’s Super Bowl blackout. Many people heard about or saw the tweet that set the social media world ablaze, but this was far from a one-hit-wonder. It all started in June of 2012.

That was when the cookie giant, a brand that topped $2 billion in revenue during 2011, launched its “daily twist” campaign. The campaign was an ambitious, 100-day social and digital push that marked a turning point in the company’s approach to marketing and, at its core, was all about great content. Over its course, we saw compelling graphic after compelling graphic, one each day. Some images were planned in advance, others the product of relevant topics. “The vast majority of the work happens in real time. Each morning the team (hones) in on what’s trending and what’s right for Oreo,” said DraftFCB creative director Megan Sheehan in an interview with AdAge.

But Oreo got the most social media attention during the Super Bowl. When a blackout caused a delay during the game, Oreo tweeted: “Power out? No problem,” with a link to a photo of an Oreo cookie and the message: “You can still dunk in the dark.”

A group of decision-makers from the brand team and Oreo’s agencies in a “mission control” center at the company’s offices created the message on the spur of the moment. The tweet instantly captivated many of the 108 million people waiting “in the dark” for the Super Bowl to resume and, arguably, created more buzz than any of the paid media that aired during the game.

With appropriate preparation, the right piece of creative and flawless timing, Oreo did, that night, what every other brand was trying to do. They stole the show. And among the many responses to their tweet was this gem: “The lights went out and a new era in advertising was born.” Well said. This is, truly, only the beginning.

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