“Real-Time Marketing: Only the Dumb Survive”

Source: mashable , 3/02/2014 by Todd Wasserman

Oreo is credited with starting the real-time marketing trend last year during the Super Bowl. This year, the brand may be ahead of the curve once more.

Shortly before the game, Oreo told fans it wasn’t going to try to top itself at Super Bowl XLVIII:

oreo twitt

In retrospect, that was a wise decision. Though most advertisers were firing away on all cylinders, trying to say something clever about the proceedings, no one really left a lasting impression. The one exception was JCPenney, which sent out some misspelled tweets early in the night that led some to conclude that the retailer’s account had been hacked.


JCPenney got a lot of attention — and retweets — for its efforts, but all the wrong kind. With Target and Nordstrom’s hacks in the news, simulating a Twitter hack doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a retailer. When JCPenney admitted it was all an elaborate ruse, it brought to mind Chipotle, whose similar stunt last year backfired on the brand.

Back when few brands were engaging in real-time marketing, you could rise above the rest by being witty. Now you have to be dumb. This is not a good trend.

That’s not to say that most brands didn’t gamely try to create some second-screen fun for viewers. Coors Light, which didn’t run ads in the game, offered a witty riposte for JCPenney’s bizarre missives:

jcpenneyanswer twitt coors light

Tide detergent kept up a running commentary all night using Vines videos to respond to other ads:

tide twitt jc penney


Victoria’s Secret — another non-advertiser — also attempted to get in on the fun, but mock-complaining to Volkswagen.

victoria secret twitt jc penney

The inter-brand play was so prevalent though that it was hard to keep track of who was engaging with who after a while. It’s also no longer novel. Is it really noteworthy for instance that Coca-Cola and Wonderful Pistachios like each other?

wonderful pistachios twitt jc penney

Most consumers, I’m guessing, didn’t really care. In fact, all the activity might be a good reason to drop some of these brands from your Twitter feed. Because after a while, this all begins to feel like what it actually is — advertising — and who wants to sign up for more of that?

All of which is why I predict that the real-time marketing wave has crested. From here on out, I expect a lot more restraint from brands who might decide, like Oreo, to take the night off. Flo, Progressive Insurance’s spokeswoman, summed up the idea nicely:

flo twitt jc penney

The same could also be said for cars, clothes and cookies, among other categories. As consumers we often turn to brands to try to make our lives easier. Too much real-time marketing is just adding to the noise and clutter.


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