We still hear from our former co-worker and friend Al Peterson, and he
usually has something to say to make us smile, or think, or both.
A lot has been made since
the Super Bowl of the turn-on-a-dime Twitter advertising strategy employed by
Oreo; that you can still “dunk in the dark.” TV commentators have been tripping
over themselves to report both what an innovative move this was for the Oreo
people, as well as the number of Tweets that traveled across the universe to
spread the message.
Swell. Now the key question: Did
this sell more cookies?
So far, all it has proven is
that a guy with Photoshop and a brisk Web connection can be faster than the “immediacy
of radio” (as we all have enthusiastically promoted over the decades), but it’s
one more ad message that could well have been ignored in the clutter that is
pumped through the pipeline every day. One more Olde Brooklyn Lantern,
Curly-Hose or vitamin message that went unviewed. For that matter, how many
Twitter followers were not even part of that group and never saw the message? Really,
other than speed, what was it that made it so special?
everyone stayed up to watch it, but Craig Ferguson’s Super Bowl TV show airing
only a short while later on the same night opened with a blackout gag, and they
had to throw that together at the last minute, every bit as fast as the Oreo
Tweet. The success of political commercials likewise depends on lightning-fast
production and placement. And years ago, “South Park” proved it could be done
in a complicated animated program when they spoofed the Elian Gonzales raid the
same week it occurred in real life. It’s not magic, people.
I don’t want to sound like some gramophone-crankin’, DeSoto-drivin’
curmudgeon from an earlier era, but to my way of thinking, the Oreo Blackout
Tweet was buzzworthy yes, but an advertising revolution in the making? I’m not
convinced. Not until the Oreo people say their sales went through the roof
following that Tweet. Worst-case, now that the method is known, it may mean an
exponential jump and increased flow in the bombardment of rapidly-assembled
advertising over phones and social media.
At least on
radio, we know when to get back to the music.