The real lesson behind Oreo’s famous Super Bowl tweet

Jan 31, 2018

What’s the biggest impediment for most midsize and large enterprises from creating more effective marketing? In our experience, it’s not lack of effort, imagination or even budget.

It’s bureaucracy. Companies hold themselves back by creating vague, tedious or unnecessary approval processes.

Here’s some food for thought. Think back to five Super Bowls ago. While the game was delayed due to a power outage, Oreo tweeted “Power out? No problem.” with a photo of a cookie that read, “You can still dunk in the dark.”


Making the Most of a Situation

The business press immediately declared that “Oreo Won the Marketing Super Bowl.” But why?

After all, the tweet was barely funny.

The image was nothing special, either. Any designer could have created it in seconds.

Experts even pointed out that the post didn’t reach that many potential customers.

It was only remarkable, really, because big brands aren’t nimble. Getting a creative idea approved sometimes feels like turning the Titanic, but Oreo quickly turned around a timely tweet.

Except, if you ask the people involved, “it took two years to do that tweet.”

In other words, Kraft Foods and its agencies started developing the processes leading up to that moment years beforehand.

The day before the game, they conducted a practice run.

The day of the game, they had 13 copywriters, designers and strategists working in a “war room.”

And finally, when the lights went out, it took a minute to create the post, but then several more for revisions and approvals.

All that, for a total of one image and eleven words.

Long story short: Oreo’s famous Super Bowl tweet demonstrates the tremendous time and effort many large corporations take to complete relatively simple tasks. Knowing this, just imagine how removing internal hurdles at your own company could give you a competitive advantage.

This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Lee Procida.

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