Several big, big brands were able to think and act like nimble small businesses and seize the moment when the Superbowl went dark yesterday:
Oreo, with a picture of an Oreo on a dark background and a teaser that said:
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
Lowe’s and Walgreen’s both went directly to their own product lines:
Hey dome operators at the ‘Big Game’, there are a few Lowe’s nearby if you need some generators.
We do carry candles. #SuperBowl
Several nonprofits and PBS also jumped in. Here’s one I particularly like, for its higher-message consciousness raising—and for the smart way it draws traffic to its own website:
half a billion people in Africa NEVER have power. Learn more at http://www.one.org/us/2012/11/13/what-makes-you-angry/ …#superbowl
Social media marketing maven David Meerman Scott commented on the instant chatter using the hashtag #blackoutbowl. Scott liked the Oreo ad a lot, but noted that Lowe’s lost an opportunity for vastly higher readership by not using a hashtag. Umm, neither did Oreo, actually, yet that got retweeted thousands of times. I wonder if it got so much play because Oreo had actually run a Superbowl commercial earlier in the game? This is something worth investigating: whether traditional advertising can build social media participation, and thus engage the prospect at a much deeper and longer lasting level. It would be fascinating to know how many new followers Oreo got between the time of its original ad and the time it tweeted about the blackout—especially considering the exorbitant price of Superbowl advertising.
What I find most interesting about the whole thing is that the people who run these big corporate Twitter accounts had the freedom to respond instantly. Nobody convened a meeting (good luck with THAT on a Sunday and during the Superbowl). Boom, the Tweets went out. I don’t normally associate that sort of amazingly nimble behavior with the likes of Audi, Procter & Gamble, and Nabisco, especially since there have been many instances of companies taking big flak for Tweets that did not help their brand (Johnson & Johnson’s Motrin baby-wearers fiasco comes to mind).
I’ve been advocating pegging pitches and messages to current events for about 35 years—but social media gives us an instancy that we didn’t have in the 1970s, or even the 1990s. We can expect to see this sort of “newsjacking” (Meerman-Scott’s term) more and more often.