Everyone's Dunking The Wrong Oreo

OK, that’s it. I’m tired of hearing people talk about Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet.

Not because Oreo’s response wasn’t great. It was. But people are talking about the wrong things. Yes, kudos to the company’s team for responding quickly and for writing engaging copy. After all, they created a graphic and had it posted in less than 15 minutes after the power outage.

The question we aren’t asking: Who actually made the tweet successful?

You see, Oreo had a mere 65,000 followers when the company tweeted “Power out? No problem.” The tweet has since generated about 16,000 retweets and 6,000 favorites off of those 65,000 followers.

Compare that to the most popular tweet by President Obama after the State of the Union address:



This tweet generated 5,600 retweets and 1,200 favorites off of 27,122,288 followers.

So, Oreo got about three times as many retweets and five times as many favorites as Obama, while Oreo had less than .05% of the President’s followers.

Here’s why the two are worthy of comparison: 1) They both capitalize on a moment in time where the country is united around an event and 2) They both capitalize on the intensity of people’s emotions.

So, why did Oreo’s tweet gain so much more traction compared to the size of the brand’s followers?

The biggest difference: The President’s tweet was spread by average Americans, but Oreo’s tweet was spread by us: ad industry pundits, professionals and news outlets. And it was retweeted by us IMMEDIATELY after it came out.

Do a search for “Power out? No problem.” If you take a look at the people who retweeted the Oreo tweet with the accompanying picture, you’ll find a list like that below. The list shows the time of the tweet, the name of the person, the person’s profession and how much sharing that person’s tweet generated.

Take a look. Notice anything? Nearly everyone is in the marketing profession. So, essentially, we all created the news cycle around Oreo’s tweet. A decent number of people retweeted  it (mainly marketing folks), then AdFreak and 360i retweeted, no doubt accelerating the number of marketing folks exposed to the tweet.

In an age when social media is supposed to help brands connect with average consumers, I find it ironic that the social media industry is what Oreo seemed to connect with most – not average consumers.

Now, some might say I have sour grapes for not being with the agency that made this happen. Not at all. I think Oreo and 360i did an amazing job. They were aware, smart, creative and fast --everything a brand and agency should be.

Here’s the big point: I just question how much the tweet resonated with the general public, compared to resonating with what our industry is craving.

In the meantime, I think Oreo needs to send a year’s supply of cookies to Shauna, the astronomy educator from Washington, D.C., who retweeted at 5:56 PST (a mere eight minutes after the original tweet). You see, Shauna’s is the truly amazing tweet of the Super Bowl.

Her tweet generated 224 retweets -- off of 487 followers. Nearly HALF of Shauna’s audience found her tweet relevant. Now THAT’S amazing.

(And, here, for your viewing pleasure, the breakdown of Top Tweets when you search for “Power out? No problem.”)

5:48 original Oreo tweet goes out (16,064 RTs, 6,157 Fav)

5:48 Ariel, pr professional: 22 RTs, 9 Fav

5:49 Katie, Marketing Manager at 360i (the agency who worked with Oreo to create the tweet): 2 RTs, 2 Favorites

5:49 Michael, some German guy: 28 RTs, 8 Fav

5:50 Rich, Executive Editor at IGN: 22 RTs, 6 Fav

5:51 Katie, copywriter and photographer: 5 RTs, 3 Fav

5:51 Dan, web developer: 15 RTs, 1 Fav

5:51 AdFreak, trade pub: 476 RTs, 106 Fav

5:51 Jon, web developer: 14 RTs, 2 Fav

5:51 Corrie, freelance video production: 11 RTs, 1 Fav

5:51 Zoe, movie journalist: 7 RTs, 4 Fav

5:52 Paul, service industry strategist: 16 RTs, 1 Fav

5:52 Andrea, content marketer: 10 RTs, 1 Fav

5:52 Mark, sourcing coordinator: 15 RTs, 5 Fav

5:52 360i, Oreo's agency: 86 RTs, 31 Fav

5:52 Seamus, social media marketer: 23 RTs, 2 Fav

5:53 Jenn, social media freelancer: 10 RTs, 1 Fav

5:53 Danielle, advertising professional: 6 RTs, 1 Fav

5:53 Awful Ads, trade pub: 5 RTs, 2 Fav

5:53 Lauren, pr profesional: 32 RTs, 5 Fav

5:53 Brian, advertising profesional: 32 RTs, 9 Fav

5:53 Cara, copywriter: 2 RTs

5:53 Heather, pr and social profesional: 161 RTs, 45 Fav

5:54 Stephanie, corporate communications: 116 RTs, 23 Fav

5:54 Ashley, buzzfeed press director: 72 RTs, 11 Fav

5:54 Elyse, social media marketer: 145 RTs, 31 Fav

5:55 Charlie, reporter: 4 RTs

5:55 KT, reporter: 41 RTs, 4 Fav

5:56 Chris, reporter: 38 RTs, 7 Fav

5:56 Janna, social media for Disney: 53 RTs, 14 Fav

5:56 Anthony, reporter: 77 RTs, 15 Fav

5:56 Christopher, actor: 203 RTs, 88 Fav

5:56 Brooke, pr professional: 8 RTs, 1 Fav

5:56 Shauna, astronomy educator: 224 RTs, 59 Fav (487 followers)

5:57 Justin, tv meteorologist: 107 RTs, 21 Fav

5:58 Musa, social media at Nike: 34 RTs, 14 Fav

5:58 Tim, internet marketing consultant: 129 RTs, 22 Fav

11 comments about "Everyone's Dunking The Wrong Oreo ".
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  1. Melanie Zachariades from Beyond, February 14, 2013 at 1:20 p.m.

    Well said.

  2. Annie Heckenberger from Digitas Health, February 14, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.

    Great piece. I'd also point out that maybe (as embarrassing as it is) the SuperBowl drives greater tune-in and audience numbers than the State of Union AND it's an advertising event where consumers are LOOKING for great brand stuff; plus the President may be polarizing to half of the country that doesn't want to retweet him. But football and oreos? That's pretty benign to retweet.

    Interesting stats on retweeters and their ripples in the ecosystem. Where did you pull that data?

  3. Bryan Boettger from Reevuit, February 14, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

    @Annie: I manually compiled it. :-)

  4. Scott Hemmons from McKesson, February 14, 2013 at 3:16 p.m.

    "I just question how much the tweet resonated with the general public, compared to resonating with what our industry is craving."

    I agree with Annie that the ripples touched normal people. Still, Oreo will go down in history as a brand that "gets it" and the Oreo story will be in Social Media PowerPoints for the next few years.

  5. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, February 15, 2013 at 5:56 a.m.

    Exactly. Back when I was doing serious blogging, I called these folks "fans of social networking". They consume and spread your marketing, not your product.

  6. Tarah Feinberg from iCrossing, February 15, 2013 at 4:12 p.m.

    Solid article, but I think it is important to look beyond just the impact on Twitter. While your point is certainly valid that industry pros tend to be heavy users of Twitter and retweet content like this, consider the engagement on the same post on Facebook:

    - over 21,000 likes
    - almost 7,000 shares
    - over 800 comments

    I bet that a lot more of those are "average Americans" than those on Twitter, and I bet a lot of their "average American" friends saw this as a result of the activity.

    I think it's important to consider how brands can impact different audiences in different ways on different platforms, especially in unexpected instances like this.

  7. E.B. Moss from Moss Appeal, February 15, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.

    Slam dunk (sorry) on the point made. What this illustrates beyond just marketers perhaps talking to mainly each other, though, is that we most often follow like-minded people. We choose to hang out in similar circles, like birds of a feather. And while social media amplifies all our voices louder and broader, for sure, ears that we hope to influence may never hear our POV because they may not have chosen to follow us. This is perhaps less important in a package goods scenario but definitely important in social CAUSE circles and politics where we can't afford to just talk to ourselves. So, apt that this post compares the impact of a political tweet....

  8. Jen Mcgahan from MyTeamConnects, February 16, 2013 at 8:38 a.m.

    Wow. Incredible that you compiled this info. Hat's off to you, Bryan. This is some major Twitter wonkiness -- and I say that with genuine appreciation! :) You are a marvel.

  9. Nancy Thomas from Tapestry Communications, February 16, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.

    So true. I participated in a Twitter conversation about the super bowl ads - we were communicating with the hashtag #BrandBowl, and the conversation was utterly I say to my clients, if you are being read by thousands, but not the ones you want, then it is like the tree falling in the words, is it not? The effectiveness of Oreo comes in the month following the Superbowl - in product sales uptick - or not. (But kudos from the kudos' giving ad buffs)

  10. Nancy Thomas from Tapestry Communications, February 16, 2013 at 10:36 a.m.

    Ha! Falling in the "woods" - but then, "words" might just be more accurate...

  11. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, February 18, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.

    With respect, we're *still* dunking the wrong Oreo. The magic moment was when the Tweet crossed back over into TV. Audiences in the thousands are interesting; audiences in the millions are meaningful. Oreo is a good example of the feedback loop between old and new media in action.

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