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The Real Time Bomb

2013 began with a real time marketing craze, thanks to Oreo’s incredible coup at the Super Bowl. But when push came to shove, many marketers struggled. Efforts to deliver real-time magic created failures.

Real-time marketing has bombed as a movement.
Real Time MarketingFirst, let’s acknowledge how truly special Oreo’s “Power Out” tweet and image was. It was creative, timely, and brilliant. The many subsequent failures show just how hard it is to achieve such an incredible success.

But beyond that, Oreo cleared many hurdles that most brands cannot overcome no matter how much they desire real time excellence.

For starters, it overcame approvals. A vast majority of creative ideas never survive the approval process. Most that do are watered down in the name of safe corporate messaging.

That’s the result of a normal creative process. Now try to get an idea executed AND approved in a matter of minutes.

You can be creative and fast, and still miss your stakeholders’ core interest. Therein lies the final area of failure: Making an idea relevant to the target community.

Oreo achieved a direct hit with its ad. It was A-Game brilliance. Quite frankly, it is unlikely that same team would be able to do it again. This was a top performance by one of the best marketing companies in the country, Nabisco.

Consider that eight months before Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark brilliance, the company had another marketing moment that was as talked about, but with more controversy. The Gay Pride cookie thrust America’s most loved biscuit in the midst of this decade’s primary civil rights issue. It was relevant and savvy, yet an ad that incurred risk with more conservative customers. As good of an ad as it was, it was not a slam dunk (pun intended).

Real time success requires so many factors to be successful. It might just be better to focus on the fundamentals, rather than trying to capture lightning in the bottle.

What did you think of 2013’s real time marketing craze?

Image: Caden Crawford (Creative Commons)

About Geoff Livingston

Geoff is president and founder of Tenacity5 Media, a digital marketing agency that provides content marketing and social media services. A former journalist, Geoff continues to write, and has authored five books. Follow him @geoffliving.

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