Viral Criteria

Oreo’s ad during the 2013 Super Bowl light outage, “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” is an example of viral marketing through social media.  360i, the marketing firm responsible for the creation of the ad explains that, “when viewers and commentators alike grappled with an unforeseen break in the middle of the Super Bowl XLVII, we saw an opportunity to help Oreo enter the spotlight.”

oreo360i defines the ad a success because after the lights went out, and 100 million television viewers turned to social media and saw the Oreo ad, it elicited over 10,000 reweets, 18,000 likes, and 5,000 shares and that is just in the first hour.  As a result of what began with a timely and poignant ad, continued to generate headline around the world in over 100 countries.  The fact that it took one tweet and $0 media dollars to earn 53 million impressions is further reason to view Oreo’s timely interjection into the darkness as a social media success according to 360i.

However, Oreo’s ad is a success because it’s clearly an implementation of a business objective, “build viral into the process” (Singer). The opportunity that Oreo took advantage of when the lights went out is part of its strategy, and not by chance alone. Brands use market research and clearly defined business objectives as part of their strategy to create viral content.  In this case, Oreo depended on targeting a large crowd and monitoring activities to win its coveted result.

Built into Oreo’s business objective is to monitor in real time, because the technology and people’s habits support such an objective, “having a brand respond in real-time on social media is a clever way to reach people on smartphones and computers – particularly when a survey prior to the game found that about 36 percent of Super Bowl viewers would be consulting a second screen” (p.3. Watercutter).  To Oreo’s benefit the company was presented with an opportunity that paid off in two ways, one, it won global recognition both on social media and on the news, and two, the company’s investment in its social media team paid off.

Oreo’s presence on social media was a success because the company began with an objective of targeting a group in real time, while having a creative team ready to response, “15 person social media team at the ready to respond to what ever happened on line in response to the Super Bowl…they also had copywriters, a strategist, and artists ready to react to any situation in 10 minutes or less” (Watercutter, p. 3).

The second element in the formula of Oreo’s strategic success is the understanding that where groups congregate is where companies want to form relationships.   It’s where companies want to create shareable content that makes memories for people.  Oreo targeted the Super Bowl and won, “in other words, touchdown: Oreo” (p. 3 Watercutter).

Oreo made memories when it created a timely, funny, relevant and sharable memory with a ready-made audience, a valuable social media hangout.   Moreover, Oreo by creating memorable content they make the Super Bowl synonymous with Oreo in people’s minds.  For those millions of people who watched or heard about the incident, will forever associate the Super Bowl and the Oreo dear to their hearts.

The strategy that Oreo used to create viral content is to monitor in real time a large group and have a team ready to response in real time.  In other words, going viral is part of Oreo’s business objective.

Work Cited Page

360i. (n.d.).  Dunking in the Dark [Video file].  Retrieved from super-bowl/

Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark Super Bowl tweet ‘a hug win’ and ‘a huge failure’ states Mondelez digital chief.  The Drum.  Retrieved from    win-and-huge-failure-states-mondelez-digital

Singer, A. (2009, Feb. 26).  10 Secrets For Creating Viral Content [Web log post].  Retrieved from

Watercutter, A. (2013, February).  How Oreo Won The Marketing Super Bowl With a Timely Blackout Ad on Twitter.  The Wired.  Retrieved from

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