Superbowl is always a showcase of the state of marketing. This year’s Superbowl was dominated by social media war rooms all trying to replicate last year’s Oreo moment. During the Superbowl power outage in 2013, Oreo tweeted “Power out? No problem” with an image that simply said “You can still dunk in the dark”.

Oreo was signaled out as a brand that stole the marketing show on marketing’s most expensive day of the year. Real-time marketing has been on the rise ever since, with brands chiming in to any major cultural event, from the Emmy’s to the Oscars, to the 9/11 anniversary. Digiday live-blogged real-time marketing examples from the Superbowl this year.

As Victor Pineiro put it in Ad Age:

“Brands are going to be surrounding the Super Bowl like a thousand hyenas circling their prey, ready to pounce at any semi-memorable moment. Your brand’s jokes and commentary will be competing against countless others, choking up your audience’s feeds. Don’t get drowned out in the cacophony.”

We are sure to see a number of awkward real-time marketing attempts in the year ahead, as brands try to “join the conversation” as it happens. I think the key to remember is that brands are guests of those conversations, which means that it’s not all about the brand. Brands can easily come across as party crashers.

I see more of an opportunity for brands to invest in long-term relationships with their audiences, not just the one-off war rooms. Instead of chasing the Oreo moment, they should find the moment that’s right for their brand.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on real-time marketing, and any stand-outs, good or bad.

(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)

9 Comments

  1. Mila Araujo says:

    It’s about practice. You can’t deliver “good enough” mist of the year and expect to pull brilliance in real time communication out just because it’s Super Bowl. The focus for brands has to be on developing that conversational style, being witty, being funny, or whatever it is the brand voice is, all year round. You don’t expect to do an Iron Man if you’ve never even run a marathon before. You have to train.

    Perhaps the most disappointing was to see so much activity around the contending brands focusing on each other, they should have been focused on the people tweeting under #SB48 and being all over that. Or pulling people in from the actual scene of the SB and tweeting video and pictures of the event they hoped to capitalize on.

    Finally, what got me with some of them,we the attempt to find reasons I mention their brand in tweets… I wonder if they noticed that simply by tweeting their name and brand is already being mentioned and shown because it’s their user name.

    A lot more work needs to go into the strategy behind the biggest advertising opportunity and the way to win on social is not by putting on the bigger show, it’s by being the most naturally involved tweeting or sharing things that bring the viewer the added value that makes it worth their time to care what you are the tweeting brand are up to.

  2. John Palumbo (founder, BigHeads Network) says:

    Marketers (especially the agencies) are like sheep – one does something and all the others simply follow. It’s a shame that so few are willing to take a chance and truly innovate (of course, they use that word every chance they get, since everyone else is using it).

  3. julio says:

    I think this Heinz tweet was pretty cool:
    “.@Broncos Time to play ketchup #SB48 #Halftime”

    like the Oreo “dunking in the dark” tweet from last year, it captured what many football were feeling: catch up Denver and make this game interesting.

    You can see the tweet here: https://twitter.com/HeinzKetchup_US/status/430143088627953665

    posted from my Galaxy S4.

  4. Mert Şenyuva says:

    I believe the comment you made about brands being guests to conversations are very important.

    Brands must be carefull because they can seem too much intrusive. Social listening can be frustrating for users if non-context brand interactions try to squize themselves in each opportunity they find.

  5. Jamie Plesser says:

    Nice write-up Tom. Personally, I find “RTM” as about as gimmicky as it gets – especially for brands that have no relevance to the conversation. If your brand is not advertising during the Super Bowl or endemic to the conversations taking place, it feels amazingly forced. It’s the equivalent of a person wearing a sandwich board on the side of a road yelling “look at me” without any context or relevance to the situation. And this is all without evening discussing the need to have paid media fueling your activity on Twitter if you have any desire to be seen by any kind of scaled audience.

    Keep up the nice work. Cheers.

  6. Paul (from Idea Sandbox) says:

    I don’t know how I feel about real time marketing. It is the equivalent of that smart alec kid who would say disruptive (but funny) things from the back of the classroom.

    Sure, the class clown makes people laugh but no one takes them seriously.

    But, what makes a class clown great is being able to come up with something funny on the spot. Not having a series of planned comments.

    Real time marketing is meant to seem spontaneous, but most of the time quite planned.

    What OREO did was clever and opportunistic – and lucky.

    But, it doesn’t seem to be a sustainable way of doing business.

    As always, great panel… and great article.

  7. john says:

    It’s not new and it’s generally not clever.

  8. John says:

    And more often than not it’s not real-time, but pre-prepared.

  9. Sean says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but any company big enough to be talking advertising around huge events like the Super Bowl is already set up to fail in the social space.

    Big entities are conditioned to be so afraid of fallout from one-off off-color comments by a “company representative” that most of their potentially hundreds or thousands of employees are explicitly contractually banned from saying anything about the brand in public forums (at least without appending a paragraph of legal boilerplate as to their expressing their own views which do not necessarily reflect the views of the company). The job of social presence falls to a handful of people in PR, which means that handful of people need to be on every platform and in tune with every subculture of their possible target demographic whenever anything of note happens.

    What would happen if a company gave ALL of its employees a crash-course in brandspeak, took a on-your-head-be-it policy to screw-ups, and just leveraged the power inherent in the volume and diversity of the resultant voices speaking for the brand?

Leave a Comment