How Oreo's brilliant blackout tweet won the Super Bowl

With the Superdome in New Orleans in near-darkness, the cookie giant sent out a tweet that proved the power of mastering social media.

This ad, included in a tweet from Oreo, won the Super Bowl Sunday night. Oreo

Anyone watching the Super Bowl this evening saw a great game -- and one of the greatest embarrassments in pro sports history: a power outage that halted play for a full half-hour.

As the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers -- and tens of thousands inside New Orleans' Superdome and millions watching on TV -- waited, Oreo came up with an idea so brilliant and bold that it out and out won the night.

"Power out? No problem," the tweet read, along with a hastily put-together image of an ad showing an Oreo and the terrific tag line, "You can still dunk in the dark."

The tweet caught fire, and as of this writing had been retweeted 13,734 times.

So how did the cookie company act so fast, and get so many talking -- all with minimal time available, and negligible expense?

While CNET reached out to Oreo in search of the answer, it was Buzzfeed that got the scoop. Apparently, it was the very quick thinking of the company's agency, 360i:

"We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity," agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. "Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes."

Oreo had already aired a solid TV ad with their "Cookie or Creme" spot. But they were ready to capitalize on social media as well when the lights went out.

"The big question is, what happens when everything changes, when you go off script?," Hofstetter said. "That was where it got fun."

The key? Having OREO executives in the room, and ready to pull the trigger.

Other brands, of course, took to Twitter -- and Twitter's video service, Vine -- during the blackout.

Some examples:

Calvin Klein used Vine to tempt some fans with a buff male model working out:

And Tide tried to convince people it could help them with their laundry:

All told, the Super Bowl was yet another big win for Twitter. According to the official Twitter blog, there were more than 24.1 million tweets about the game, the ads, and the halftime show. But no matter how good the game itself was, the peak of interest on Twitter came during the blackout, when there were 231,500 tweets per minute, and during Beyonce's halftime show, when 268,000 tweets per minute marked the end of her show.

As for actual football? The top moment was the kickoff return for a touchdown by the Ravens' Jacoby Jones, which compelled 185,000 tweets per minute, a tad more than the 183,000 tweets per minute that came when the Ravens sealed the deal.

 

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