Last night's blackout of about half of the Superdome during the Super Bowl became a minor cultural touchpoint almost instantly. While certainly not as profound an event as the moon landing, for example, the millions of game viewers will certainly remember it for quite a while due to its suddenness, its absurdity -- and its social media impact.
Twitter says that there were 231,000 tweets per minute during the blackout, eclipsing the amount during the remarkable 108-yard kickoff return by Baltimore's Jacoby Jones at the start of the second half -- the most-tweeted in-game event -- by about 50,000 per minute. Among those tweets was an ad by Oreo:
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29...— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
At the time of this writing, the ad has almost 15,000 retweets, as well as immeasurable, breathless, laudatory blog entries by the marketing media (of which I used to be a part -- there's no way I wasn't writing about this today.) Oreo is said to have " won the Super Bowl " by more than one outlet. Buzzfeed gets credit for the scoop of the night by scoring an interview with an executive at Oreo's agency, 360i, who told the site how they were able to get the ad up so fast.
But I didn't see the Oreo tweet. I don't follow Oreo. I do, however, follow State Farm, which also put out an opportunistic tweet when the lights went out:
A power outage can happen at the most unexpected times. Learn how you can be prepared in your home. learningcenter.statefarm.com/residence/safe...— State Farm (@StateFarm) February 4, 2013
I chuckled and retweeted it, then went back to texting jokes to my friends, blissfully unaware of the viral power unleashed by Oreo. This morning, after seeing the incredible response Oreo got, I checked back in with State Farm's to see the response to their tweet. As you can see, it didn't get nearly the same amount of traction: only 111 retweets as of this writing.
However, this shouldn't discourage State Farm from having its social media people at the ready during future Super Bowls or other moments of rapt nationwide attention to capitalize on attention-grabbing moments. Instead, the insurer -- and others -- can learn from what Oreo did and potentially be the Next Big Thing on social media. Here's what I would do next time: