Monthly Archives: April 2013

Responsive Advertising


The blackout at this year’s Super Bowl was a major headache for the NFL and CBS. After Beyoncé brought the house down at the Half-time show, the lights went out and no one really knew when or if they would come back on. Oreo, the Nabisco owned brand, was quick to capitalize on the outage. Using their social channels, Oreo churned out a timely meme that got everyone talking about cookies, and forgetting about the delayed game. Oreo took CBS’ lemons and made sweet, sweet lemonade.


Fast forward to The State of the Union on Tuesday February 12: Florida Republican Senator, Marco Rubio was being interviewed live for his reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.  11 minutes into the broadcast Rubio frantically grabs for a Poland Springs bottle of water in what is now known as “water break”.

mark rubio

Like the Super Bowl, this was a broadcast being watched by millions of people: Rubio’s awkward and unanticipated sip of water became a comedic shared experience, and viewers desperately wanted to SHARE it.

Having been previously conditioned by Oreo, audiences took to the Twitterverse to find an equally topical meme from Poland Springs. They waited, and waited, but there was no reaction from Poland Springs…until lunchtime on Wednesday.  Early numbers suggested that Poland Springs’ slow response to the Rubio incident actually cost the company $3 million in potential sales.  And when they did finally release a meme, because of the timing, the ad was criticized as lackluster and lame. So what gives?

Enter: responsive advertising. Half the battle of advertising is being able to REALLY connect with an audience, and say something in a way that doesn’t sound sales-y.  ‘Responsive advertising’ accomplishes both, and then some. The advertisement references an immediate event being witnessed by millions of people, and at the same time, buries the ‘sales message’ under the quickness, wit, and topical content of the ad.   Responsive advertising is a cost effective way to get the message out: you can save the marketing budget for a time when you know it will be impactful and effective.

Social media provides a variety of ways to gauge that effectiveness, due to its immediacy and constant renewal of real time information. For Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout meme that meant 15,000 re-tweets, 20,000 Facebook likes, and headlines including “Oreo’s tweeted ad was Super Bowl’s blackout winner” and “How Oreo’s brilliant blackout tweet won the Super Bowl”. Brands, like Oreo, are seen as trailblazers and pioneers. They’re ahead of the game because when everyone else was panicking, or worse, doing nothing, Oreo knew better. And when someone knows better, we’re more inclined to trust them. Get our trust and you’ll win every time!

Last week a Toronto woman, Maria Carreiro, won the $40,000,000 dollar jackpot. When she was asked what the first thing she would do when she got the money she responded, “I’m going to go to dinner with my whole family, Mandarin, all you can eat!”

Your move, Mandarin.