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What small businesses can learn from the Superbowl

What small businesses can learn from the Superbowl

What small businesses can learn from the Superbowl

Four minutes.
That’s how long it took for the first Twitter advertiser to bid on “power outage” as a search term after the lights went out at the New Orleans Superdome.

It also didn’t take long for cookie giant Oreo to respond to the now-infamous #superbowlblackout, spawning more than 13,000 re-tweets and nearly 5000 favourites.

Minutes after the lights went out, Oreo tweeted an ad at 8.48pm, saying: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” Despite shelling out thousands of dollars for a coveted TV ad spot during the sporting event, it turns out that the most powerful bit of marketing during the industry’s night of nights was free.

Although the lights were only out for 35 minutes, Oreo’s cleverness and intuition to strike while the iron is hot will be remembered for quite some time.

According to, the key to executing such a swift and gutsy ad was having a “brave brand” and Oreo executives in the room who approved the ad in minutes.

It’s an unusual move for such big company, and one which has been lauded for its creativity, freedom and brand knowledge. Oh, and millions of dollars of free publicity as well.

Such is the power of social media, where one small post could lead to enormous amounts of press coverage and exposure. Are you still a doubter? In the time it took you to read the opening paragraph of this post, you could have signed up for a free Twitter account which could potentially give you exposure to millions of eyeballs in the social media sphere. Or you could’ve invited 50 people to become fans of your business on Facebook. You could also have pinned a promo for your event on Pinterest by now.

Social media marketing has grown enormously from a fringe service into a massive and viable strategy for companies of all sizes, due to its low cost and easy upkeep. As more Australians spend time in online environments via laptops, tablets and smartphones, it’s more important than ever to stay connected and solicit feedback from current customers and potential leads.

So what are you waiting for?

─ Eliza Sum

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comments ( 8 )
  • Coopers of Stortford
    Coopers of Stortford
    11 May 2014

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I've found something which helped me. Thank you!

  • Will Bowman
    Will Bowman
    12 Mar 2013

    In the advertising world, the Superbowl is fabled as the grand final for many large scale organisations. You often hear of the huge advertising budgets and the finance required just to secure a 30 second spot during the game, a sum in the millions. It is ironic then that the commercial by Oreo was the most talked about advertisement of the Superbowl considering its very low relative cost. While this underlines the power of social media, it also highlights the necessity for large scale organisations to be flexible and active when an opportunity presents itself.

    Hats off to Oreo for seizing an opportunity and not being held back by red tape!

  • Melinda
    25 Feb 2013

    Intelligence, quick-thinking and wit will get you far in the social marketing sphere. Oreo had a brilliant team of executives behind them and their tweet phenomenon was undoubtedly well-deserved. Whilst caution needs to be exercised to prevent an equivalent to a 'wardrobe malfunction' on social media and an accidental PR disaster, businesses need to take hold of the reigns and dedicate more resources to connecting with their public directly. Successful campaigns or ones that pique the viewer's interest enough to "re-post" or "re-tweet" it, can spread like wildfire over the various social media channels. Effective and cost-efficient, surely if it is well-executed, it will be a win-win for all.

  • Adrian
    24 Feb 2013

    Great article on how to use social media correctly!
    Often companies want to create a social media presence that's immediately affective but often a little bit of luck and taking advantage of an opportunity is what is needed.

    As Owen said, just think of the amount of people who would of turned to their phones when the black out was going on to message their friends or check the social media sphere and caught a glimpse of this powerful, yet simple message. Imagine the amount of re-tweets.

    Who needs millions for marketing if you can still take advantage of the most powerful tool of all: word-of-mouth. Oreo really gold with this one!

  • manon
    19 Feb 2013

    I agree, Social media has a big power. It is so surprising. Companies have to use it to have more impact in their market. They are also closer to their customers with the social media.

  • Emma
    18 Feb 2013

    This was great marketing! Oreo were able to seize the unexpected and therefore reaped the benefits of quick thinking!

    By making a connection to the black out at the Superbowl is genius especially with an event like the Superbowl where millions of people are watching and will talk about for a long time.

    Social media is taking over the world and if used correctly like Oreo companies will awareness improve dramatically.

  • John
    11 Feb 2013

    Iv noticed a massive jump in google plus ysage in the last few months. And it seems to be dominated by alot of businesses. I wonder could it become a challenger to linkedin? i know this isnt its intended purpose but in comparison it doesnt have all the bloat that goes with linkedin

  • Owen
    06 Feb 2013

    Another great example of why social media is now so important in the business world.

    Oreo used their initiative and when you think about it, it is not so much a bold move as a sensible one. How many millions were watching the Superbowl? And how many of those millions would revert to Facebook and Twitter to talk about the blackout?

    If there was ever a good time to advertise that was it and they managed to come up with an effective, easy-to-remember advertisement as well.