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A Rare Inside Look at a “Viral” Marketing Moment

David Street
2 min read
May 28, 2020

The lights went out in the Superdome for 34 minutes. Super Bowl XLVII ground to a halt. But the Oreo marketing team kept working and came up with a clever tweet.

The world of marketing was forever changed. That is, some people presented it that way. Was this a new, more effective way to advertise? Oreo didn’t pay a cent to post the tweet. They just picked the right moment and the whole thing went viral, to use the terminology of the time.

For some, this interpretation didn’t make sense. The numbers didn’t add up. Other advertising methods had much better reach and effectiveness. 

The supposed birth of real-time marketing strategy created immediate controversy in the marketing world. The debate eventually degenerated into a fight between awkwardly defined traditional and digital marketers. It’s still a hot topic in some marketing circles.

Luckily, we now have an insider account of the strategy that led to the tweet and of the aftermath. It turns out the tweet was not very effective. Paid ads that ran the same week showed better results. Which isn’t to say that the tweet was a complete waste of time. It just needs to be put in the context of a larger marketing operation where every tactic serves a greater strategy.

No matter the exact results, there are lessons to be learned for every marketer. The full post on LinkedIn is worth a read.