Oreo’s tweet during the Super Bowl blackout, seemed to be a marketing masterpiece to many, while others thought of it as innovative, but too small to be noted as the winner of the Super Bowl.

The power went out during last year’s Super Bowl showdown between San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Within minutes Oreo sent out this very opportunistic tweet:

“Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark.”

As simple as that! And they got over 10,000 re-tweets in in less than an hour.

The tweet’s success has gained a lot of attention from the marketing and advertising professionals since then, and a lot of opinions have shaped up around it. Marketplace.org calls it “Lightning in a bottle” and argues that the reach is admirable but far from what Oreo’s Super Bowl ad has got them on TV. Another article on Forbes website, asks if such “real-time marketing” are worth the hype!?

I would personally agree with both viewpoints stating that TV still works, but disagree with the thought that apples are compared to apples here.

Let’s review the situation: It’s true that the Super Bowl is watched by over 100 million people and while during the same event only about 5 million tweets had been sent, but the cost of this tweet is certainly way lower than 5% of millions of dollars Oreo has spent to develop and air its Super Bowl ad. Other than the dollar effectiveness, you also need to ask yourself how does the impact of each campaign compare to the other. A TV ad that’s funny and enjoyable (among other possibly funnier ads) might be memorable and effective, but Oreo’s tweet is real-time thus absolutely relevant to the situation. Therefore I strongly believe that the impact of this campaign is superior to TV, simply because it resonates with the readers situation at the time (ask someone who’d seen the tweet during the blackout and another who’d seen the TV ad during the game, six months from now, and see who remembers better).
Now, the most important question still remains to be answered:

Can other companies simply learn from Oreo and adopt real-time marketing?

The answer is not that easily! The first thing to understand is that Oreo was quite lucky in the first place to have all the decision-makers there with the agency when the blackout happened. In fact the entire process of design, caption and approval happened in just minutes! After all, how many organizations of that size would you say can act that fast, every time they launch a marketing campaign? Not many.
It is certainly a necessity for companies to act much faster than they usually do if they want to be able to market in real-time, and that takes a lot of reform.