(smart, a client of ours, getting real)
So the Super Bowl happened: A few sections of lights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome lost power at and someone Tweeted BLACKOUT!
Using a social listening tool, I, from my couch, chuckled as the trending pods of words bubbled up: “BANE!”, “Chinese Hackers!”, “Too much Bootylicious!”. Then Oreo’s well-staffed, smartly-planned, vetted and blessed social media posse (made up of folks from several agencies plus some from the brand) struck gold (again).
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
Boom. 16,000 RTs and zillions of impressions for being on the ball and prepared.
And they weren’t alone. Audi, Tide and countless others did something rare: They acted HUMAN. They did what people do on Twitter during sports games. They wisecrack in real-time. And this is not new: I have spent many-a-night hitting refresh on game day football forums with several thousands of co-viewers back in the 90s!
I tell all of my clients: Social media should not be pushing a rock uphill. Quack like a duck. Put yourselves in consumers’ shoes. Be real. Find a pre-existing consumer behavior and join in and MAKE IT BETTER (well, that last bit is the hard part for many brands).
Style points aside, I give major kudos to any brand that stuck its neck out during the Oscars. If you had 6 agency reps and a lawyer or one woman in fuzzy slippers monitoring trends: Major props to you. Hell, even if you scheduled a few Tweets during the Oscars… great job knowing when Twitter’s usage would swell for an evening and taking advantage.
I mean, I will even give a shout-out to the person or persons who came up with the hash tag “#OscarsRTM”. I mean, without your foresight, the ad industry and we marketers would not be able to unabashedly keep track of all the potential zingers and viral joy… or just poop on it.
That being said, there were a lot of fails by brands on Twitter during the Oscars. I will admit: on-the-fly, legal-friendly humor is a mixed bag. But some of the biggest fails came from the industry itself. Now, I won’t link to Tweets shaming “Photoshopped templates” or “OMG FAIL” or even the Tumblr devoted to “RTM SUCKS”… but come on people! This sh*t is hard… and it’s only really been going on for about a year or so, right? Wouldn’t it be great if branded content could diversify? If brands were as good at writing Tweets as Bill Maher? Be as creepy at Instagram selfies as Madonna? Be clever and make you laugh without interrupting your TV show with a commercial or pre-rolling a 7 second video clip with a :30 ad? Reading Tweets from brands is NICE! It’s passive! It does not interrupt you! It’s a good trend that just needs some polish.
Alas… you live-monitoring, working-Sunday sons-of-a-guns: CONGRATULATIONS! Good for you. Way to try something new. Something HARD. It’s the improv comedy of marketing. And by the way, all your attempts were better than the seemingly endless musical interlude.
See you at the next awards show. On Twitter.
Matt Heindl leads our East Coast social media practice based in NYC working with Uniqlo, smart (car), Citi and Mercedes-Benz. He claims to be the only 40-year-old member of Gen Y and firmly believes that all your base are belong to us. Ping him @matt_heindl