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The Last Super Bowl Had a Great Example of Real-Time Marketing: Will It Happen Again This Year?

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Remember the power outage at Super Bowl XLVII -- when the lights went out and stopped play, and interrupted the broadcast for about 30 minutes? That's when Oreo slipped in the now-infamous tweet: "Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark," and made marketing history. This one tweet was retweeted more than 16,000 times.

Yup, Oreo made it look easy, but in fact, Lisa Mann, SVP, Global Gum Category, Mondelēz International (fka "Kraft Foods") has commented at conferences that it was actually a two year strategy that enabled the teams to act in real-time.

Since then, real-time marketing has taken some hits. There's even a Tumblr called RTMSucks that started on the night of the Oscars. "What became apparent rather quickly was how boring the real-time efforts were. Everything from Special K cereal sitting in auditorium seats, clip art from JCPenney, and a Polar Bear on a treadmill." Ugh.

You still need a solid brand strategy and strident marketing discipline to make real-time work. Otherwise, you end up with a collective groan from your customers -- like the misfire tweet from the Golf Channel on the anniversary of the MLK's "I Have a Dream Speech," or the horrid AT&T mistake at the 12th anniversary of 9/11.

The question now is who's going to trump Oreo in Super Bowl XLVIII?

Beverly Macy is the author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and the host of Social Media Radio.

A version of this blog appeared here.

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