Don’t Confuse Real-Time Marketing ...


What do you remember about the 2013 Super Bowl?

Unless you’re a fan of the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers, your overriding memory is the blackout, when someone pulled the plug at the Superdome for 34 minutes.

And if you work under the marketing umbrella, you admired the nimbleness of Oreo Cookie to capitalize on the plunge into darkness.

I figured with the Super Bowl waiting on Sunday, I’d dust off the post on real-time marketing.



Many brands jumped into the real-time marketing fray with the Royals’ latest addition to the family on Monday.

This effort wasn’t as effective as what took place during the Super Bowl blackout for a reason I’ll get into in a minute.

Still, I don’t think the Mashable headline, “Brands Try, Fail to Capitalize on Royal Baby Hype” quite captures the situation. After all, the Oreo Cookie tweet triggered more than 800 retweets and more than 300 favorites, not exactly chopped liver (no charge Nabisco for the cookie filling idea).

Take a look and compare the creative from Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout and from the birth of the Royal baby.

Improv Marketing Exhibit A: Oreo Super Bowl tweetOreo Royals Tweet

Sure, you could argue that the finesse of the Super Bowl tweet makes it better, “cleaner” if you will, but the issue is not with the creative.

It’s the planned orchestration that hurt the latest real-time marketing effort from all the brands, not just Oreo.

All real-time marketing is not created equal.

For the various branding work during the Super Bowl blackout, I prefer the phrase “improv marketing” which gets across the idea of reacting to the unexpected.

The unexpected serves as the ignition.

It’s not enough to deliver “wit” in real time.

Like a stand-up comedian playing off a heckler in the audience, it’s the “nimble wit” that wins people over.

Because we know how bloody hard this is to do.

All of us have reflected on interactions and come up with a clever response guaranteed to slay the audience … if only we had thought of those words under fire.

Which is precisely the point.

And why we shouldn’t confuse real-time marketing with “improv marketing.”



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