With “The Big Game” upon us, it’s time to look back at 2013: the year Oreo won the NFL championship.

Yes, the Ravens won on the field—to the delight of many of us at our Maryland-based marketing agency. But in the multi-million dollar brawl that is Big Game advertising, Oreo’s Digital David scored a one-punch knockout over TV Goliath.

Because 2013 was also the year when a bank of stadium lights conked out in mid-game. And the Oreo social media team seized the moment. Within 10 minutes of the blackout, Oreo lit up Twitter with a simple, humorous idea—”You can still dunk in the dark”—that played directly off the breaking news.

Thousands of retweets flashed out in seconds. In addition, Oreo garnered millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity from media outlets who jumped on the story.

Contrast the cost of that tweet—made with an existing image—to the massive expenditures TV advertisers laid out. According to Bleacher Report and superbowl-ads.com, 30 seconds of in-game airtime cost about $4 million in 2013.

Of course, many advertisers created 60-second spots just for the game, so they probably paid about twice that for airtime alone. That’s even before adding in the tremendous production costs for lavish spots, many of which featured major celebrities.

For that one night, however, and for several days after, a single tweet racked up a massive ROI for Oreo.

Now, not everyone has the brand recognition that Oreo does. But here are two valuable takeaways for marketers:

  • Stay in the moment with your clients. Be ready to jump on trends the moment you see them. When telehealth became an urgent topic, we worked with our client, CareJourney, to promote their timely webinar and follow-up blog on telehealth—focusing on policy, adoption and impact on Medicare.Together, we attracted 156 attendees to the live session. When CareJourney published the blog and webinar report, they rang up more than 1,500 page views and more than 300 leads.
  • Never underestimate the power of an idea. Oreo’s execution was both simple and immediately relevant to the product. Even though Oreo ran commercials during the game, it was the tweet that generated all the buzz on the Monday after.

One thing we’ve learned from experience: the immediacy of digital advertising gives you a unique opportunity to seize the moment and win the day. Or in this case, the championship.

Content Marketing / Conversion / Jib Jab / ROI / Social Media

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