By Sean Glendon
It started with a tweet. A tweet that changed everything for businesses. As the Super Bowl blackout of 2013 occurred, Nabisco brand Oreo tweeted “Power Out? No Problem” with a picture of an Oreo captioned “You can still dunk in the dark.” Walking away with 16,000 retweets and 6,500 favorites, it was a huge marketing success. Other brands tried to poke fun at the blackout, including Jim Beam saying it sponsored the “blackout” on Facebook, but Oreo was the clear winner here. On a night where advertisers spend 3.7 million dollars on 30 second commercial time slots, when articles calling the Oreo ad the best ad of the game (which cost nothing) began popping up all over, companies realized that Twitter offers a free and viral promotional tool . I believe that the Super Bowl blackout of 2013 was the dawn of a new era for marketers: the Real-Time Marketing era. There may have been be a prior example of successful real-time marketing, but not on such a level. Brands like Taco Bell previously had successful social media marketing, and companies all over the world had been using hashtags, but the Oreo tweet changed the game completely. In March of 2013, legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson tweeted “11 champ;ipnsikp[ ringhs” as his inaugural tweet. Was he drunk? Not at all, as a video the next day sponsored by AOL showed that Phi was wearing his eleven rings while tweeting. This promoted Phil Jackson’s twitter account, his upcoming book titled “Eleven Rings,” and a partnership with AOL. 28,000 retweets. 13,000 favorites. Beautiful. However, while a one-time stunt can be effective, longevity and consistency are what companies are trying to achieve with their Twitter accounts. On August 8th, Denny’s Diner responded to a tweeter saying “We love LIL B!” mentioning The Based God himself. Denny’s, along with Helper and the aforementioned Taco Bell are among the Twitter accounts that frequently interact with consumers in humorous ways. Before NBA tipoff this season, the Atlanta Hawks bragged about being the #1 Seed (alphabetically they were listed first in the Eastern Conference by location). After Tony Romo was Tony Romo and gave up a big lead by throwing interceptions on December 16th, the Hawks suggested that Romo call Al Horford, and showed a picture of Horford hitting a game-winning three. While 2013 was the spawning of the era of real-time marketing, 2014 has already shown just how dedicated to this marketing strategy companies have become. After details about Kellen Winslow Jr’s arrest showed that he was arrested for masterbating while high on synthetic marijuana after getting lost looking for Boston Market, the company tweeted him a link to their “convenient store locator” so it wouldn’t happen next time. They even knew to put a period before mentioning his handle so users who weren’t following both accounts would see the tweet. It was brutal. It was amazing. When Auburn lost the BCS Championship bowl, Denny’s tweeted an image showing 47 places to win (Denny’s locations) on the way home as a consolation. During this year’s Grammys, Pharrell wore a very ridiculous hat. Arby’s noticed, and asked Pharrell if they could have their hat (referring to their logo) back. 83,000 retweets and 49,000 favorites. Notice the increase from Oreo’s initial tweet. Twitter users are looking to brands for this new marketing strategy. They cannot wait to see what brand will say what next. At this year’s Super Bowl, companies tried to walk away with the spotlight, while maintaining millions of dollars, after seeing Oreo’s success last year. JC Penney implemented a planned “Tweeting with Mittens” experience, since the Super Bowl was supposed to be cold and they were selling Team USA mittens. People thought they were drunk. They weren’t. People laughed and talked about it. It was very reminiscent of Phil Jackson’s tweet, and was a bit too unoriginal to enjoy. However, the responses by other companies were amazing. Kia offered a designated driver. Coors said “We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly.” Snickers suggested eating their candy since “you’re not you when you’re hungry” and Doritos were also suggested to JC Penney. The next day JC Penney tweeted pictures of somebody in mittens with Doritos and Snickers to extend their buzz. Doritos, Verizon, and Hyundai were among brands that tweeted at other brands during their commercials. Lots of brands responded to the tweets of other brands. I cried tears of joy. When companies go back and forth like that, we as consumers are very blessed. This year’s Super Bowl and Grammys are huge indicators that brands will be live-tweeting big events in the future. The Olympics, The Oscars, popular television shows and presidential debates will probably be live-tweeted from now on. The beauty is that this is just the beginning.