Talking tech since 2003

If you weren’t watching the Super Bowl last night, you missed a rather bizarre occurrence (not for the 49ers, apparently). Early in the third quarter, with the Ravens leading the 49ers 28-6, half of the power went out in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The outage caused a 34 minute delay in the game, separated viewers from commentators Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (who lost power in their booth), and left players with nothing to do but jog and stretch on the field while they waited for the lights to come back on.

As action paused on the field, however, it was just picking up on Twitter.

Users bull-rushed the social network to see what others were saying about the blackout, or to offer up their own wisecracks. And, as tens of thousands of tweets about the dark side of the Superdome started to flow through, the social media teams at Oreo and Tide were hard at work, ready to take advantage of the Super Blunder.

Just four minutes into the blackout, Oreo had launched this ad.

Seven minutes after the power went out, users saw this ad from Tide.

The two brands, which also had televised spots during the game, moved quickly to create Twitter ads that were relevant to a major, real-time event that people were talking about. The ads weren’t all that funny, but the killer speed at which Oreo and Tide moved to get them up and running was impressive. Compare these real-time ads to, say, the TV spot from Wonderful Pistachios, and you start to see how important relevance is, and how real-time ads can help brands become a part of something instead of a distraction from it. Oreo and Tide made it feel like they were experiencing that strange moment in time with you. Wonderful Pistachios felt like it was trying too hard, referencing something people stopped caring about five months ago.

“Heyyyyyyy, crack your nuts now.” Seriously?

I think that we’re going to see a lot more of these types of ads, especially after the success Oreo and Tide saw. It’ll require brands to be nimble — constantly listening, constantly keeping a finger on the pulse of current events and pop culture. But those who are already active and killing it in the social space shouldn’t have any trouble keeping up. Sure, we’ve seen brands make mistakes in the past with real-time events — Entenmann’s, Kenneth Cole, I’m looking at you — but when done with tact, real-time ads have a whole lot of upside. In a world where a mob of different advertisers are vying for your attention every second, an ad that ties into what you’re currently talking about will stand out.

I just hope Gangnam Style doesn’t become a thing again.


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