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#Blackout: How to Advertise in Real Time

Super Bowl XLVII will be remembered for a variety of reasons: the historic matchup of the brothers Harbaugh; a 35-minute blackout in the 3rd quarter that nearly let the 49ers come back; but for social media it was the power of one clever, nimble team that could take advantage of a perfect opportunity and create the only ad everyone still talks about the next day.

But Oreo is no stranger to rapid-fire tweeting. Though it feels like eons ago in internet-time, last September Oreo found itself in the middle of a (mostly) fun Tweet drama when it ran a campaign asking if followers sneak cookies into movie theaters. Shane Adams, a social media manager at AMC Theaters was quick to respond with this:

Oreo played back, but they were ultimately outmatched by Adams’s quick wit. Adams wrote a post-mortem post explaining a bit how his team was structured and why that contributed to them winning the day. Lesson learned, and last night Oreo had a team ready to act at a moment’s notice. Shortly after the game, Sarah Hofstetter, president of 360i (Oreo’s ad agency) said to 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.” Specifically stating that, "You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly,” Oreo seemed to have found just that bravery.

But other companies moved quickly, too. For instance, Walgreens kept it simple:

And Matt McGee of Marketing Land plenty of other companies use the blackout to their marketing advantage, but specifcially noticed Audi (among other companies) take the opportunity to both promote themselves while poking fun at their competitor:

Yet sadly, possibly the most missed opportunity of last night was this:

Join The Conversation

  • ideagirlmedia's picture
    Feb 5 Posted 4 years ago ideagirlmedia


    Fun look at the Super Bowl - Love how you used the embedded tweets!

    I thought Walgreens and Oreo were the most clever.

    A memorable event for sure (I don't usually watch, but I did).

    Thanks for sharing your insights,


  • Feb 4 Posted 4 years ago mtebb19

    Wow! that was very quick thinking and approval by all of those companies. I love the witty responses in the tweets to the blackout. It really shows that the brands have a personality with those tweets and that they can relate to people. It makes them feel more comfortable with the brand when they feel like its a person talking to them. Great post!

  • joan justice's picture
    Feb 4 Posted 4 years ago joan justice

    Great post, Adam.  Didn't watch the Super Bowl (not a fan) but I enjoyed hearing about this instant advertising (I AM a marketing fan!).  Good job!

    -joan justice

  • Feb 4 Posted 4 years ago TomOB

    I think the Oreo tweet was smart, but is it really the new, new thing?  

    I have huge respect for the 360i team that made this happen - but this is really a man bites dog story.  

    NEWS FLASH:  a brand was as clever as a human being tonight!

    It's only news because brands struggle to act human.


  • Robin Carey's picture
    Feb 4 Posted 4 years ago Robin Carey

    Instant advertising is the new black. Great post.

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