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Super Bowl Blackout Proves Social Listening Gives Brands Real-Time Opportunities

Oreo , Feb. 6, 2013

Dodge’s #GodMadeAFarmer ad captivated audiences and GoDaddy’s #TheKiss ad disgusted audiences, but two tried and true consumer goods brands,  Oreo and Tide, won over audiences by successfully cutting through massive amounts of Super Bowl noise with real-time relevance ripe for split-second attention spans. These brands weren’t lucky. They laid the foundation for social media success months in advance of the big game.

Oreo’s roots for real-time consumer interaction can be traced back to the brand’s Daily Twist campaign—a daily stream of social content that not only elevated the Oreo brand prior to the Super Bowl, but made Oreo a trending topic on Twitter. So when the brand’s television ad aired during the big game, it already had an audience of socially engaged consumers ready and willing to engage.

But the real magic occurred when the brand found a shared passion with fans—the 30-minute blackout that occurred after the halftime show. The brand added its voice to the conversation by sharing a quick turnaround social post saying, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

Using Resource Mission Control, a team of expert social listeners and tracking tools, we were able to follow social media conversations related to the brand and discovered that not only did the simple and smart post generate 21,000 likes on Facebook and was retweeted on Twitter over 15,000 times, but it created a long tail of interaction that has sustained mentions of Oreo across social touchpoints.

Tide achieved similar success. Well before the Super Bowl, the brand primed its fan base for real-time activation by turning a multi-car crash during a NASCAR race into an opportunity. The crash left gasoline and oil all over the track…and you guessed it…Tide was used to clean it up. The brand quickly turned the event into an in-the-moment social media opportunity, generating a huge spike in fan interaction.

During the Super Bowl, Tide also had a TV spot, and it too was able to engage with its fans about the blackout in an ad saying, “We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out.” That post generated over 1,300 retweets and 2,300 likes on Facebook—not quite Oreo numbers, but impressive given the rapid-fire social streams fans were seeing during one of the heaviest social media days of the year.

In both instances, the brands behaved as fans do. They reacted to the world around them and engaged in conversation. Surprisingly, that kind of brand self-awareness is still rare, but the ecosystem is changing and brands smart enough and agile enough to seize those unplanned moments are seeing huge spikes in social traffic and lasting consumer engagement.

Dodge, on the other hand, saw immediate—but not lasting—success. The #GodMadeAFarmer spot received more than 14,000 mentions within the first hour, but by hour two, the number of mentions dropped to 2,000, and by hour three only 635 mentions could be found. Conversation around the search term “Dodge” followed the same trajectory. Dodge was able to create a moment in time, a spark, but failed to kindle that spark into something bigger… at least socially.

The Resource social media team engages with more than 60 million social media community members annually on behalf of more than 20 brands. That continuous interaction has proven time and time again that brands that have a strong fan base at the ready can indeed create real-time marketing magic.

If Oreo waited to build its fan base until the Super Bowl, the blackout mentions would have been strong, but not 15,000 retweets strong. Fans were eager advocates ready to share because Oreo showed months in advance that they were listening.

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