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Oreo & The Super Bowl Blackout

Oreo & The Super Bowl Blackout

It’s no secret that I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. When a company sets aside $3-4 million for a TV spot, I (along with millions of other marketing professionals) am definitely going to pay attention. Super Bowl XLVII garnered over 108 million views this year and had plenty of worthwhile ads, but there’s one advertisement that WASN’T shown that’s hogging the spotlight.

“You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”

OreoThis year’s Super Bowl will forever be known as the “Blackout Bowl” due to the power outage that followed the ending of the halftime show. The power on one side of the stadium went out, causing the game to be on hold for over 30 minutes – enough time to give the brand team over at Oreo to develop an entirely new advertising campaign.

With a social event such as this, millions looked to Twitter (including myself) to see what exactly was going on. Upon hearing of the blackout, Oreo’s team took to Twitter to display a unique advertisement stating ever so fittingly “Power out? No problem.” The ad you see has now been retweeted over 16,000 times.

Companies paid millions of dollars to have their brands exposed during the most-watched television event in the country – including Oreo. Their commercial cost much more to make and was completely outshone by their FREE message on Twitter (there’s still a little overhead there, but basically free compared to the cost of television advertisements).

In addition to the social media exposure, this story has also been mentioned in online articles all over, including The Huffington Post, The Inquisitor, and even Forbes. Other television ads haven’t received nearly as much exposure.

Newsjacking at its Finest

While Oreo’s recent tactic may seem like an entirely new concept, it’s actually been around for some time. It’s called “newsjacking” and is “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

Oreo’s strategy displays newsjacking at its finest, there are many companies that struggle to find both the right way to use it and the right time. There’s been a lot of debate about appropriate newsjacking topics, many of which surround tragedies.

An example of this is when Hurricane Sandy struck the US last year – InStyle Magazine featured an article relating to a list of top beauty products to keep you entertained during the storm. This is a milder case, but many have pointed out that it’s wrong to newsjack stories of tragedy.

As we can see newsjacking is a successful strategy, but only if executed very carefully and at the precise moment – and as far as Oreo is concerned, they nailed it.

Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier
Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

  • Stacey Acevero

    Thanks for the mention of our post on newsjacking – we totally agree that this is “newsjacking at its finest” – had Oreo not had that well-oiled machine to crank out the idea and get it to those watching, it wouldn’t have worked. Brilliance, and kudos to them.

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