Oreo’s real-time marketing during the 35-minute blackout at the Super Bowl created a whirlwind of social media activity—casting a spotlight on the brand.  At 8:48 pm that night, Oreo tweeted a clever photo ad highlighting its famous cookie with the caption: “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.”  The ad has been retweeted over 15,000 times, and the same photo also generated over 20,000 likes on Facebook.  The term “Oreo” even trended on Twitter during the big game.  What does it take to produce such effective real-time newsjacking?  Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i, Oreo’s advertising agency, gave the following statement to Buzzfeed: “We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity…You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly.  When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic.”  Oreo and 360i did indeed act quickly—springing into action as soon as the blackout occurred to winningly ride the early wave of newsjacking related to the Super Bowl blackout.

The Super Bowl is a unique opportunity for marketers and advertisers, because it is a rare time, when viewers do not use DVR to fast-forward through commercials.  People are eager to watch Super Bowl ads and discuss them with their friends—in person and on social media.  Viral newsjacking like Oreo achieved requires having your creative team on call—at least during special events like the Super Bowl.  At minimum, you would need a content writer to create clever marketing copy, a graphic designer to create something visually striking, and a social media manager to strategically distribute your content on social media channels with the best free and paid options.  Obviously, Oreo is a household name, and going viral is much easier for the brand than a typical small business.

However, even if your business is not able to trigger such a burst of news-related social media activity, contributing to the social discourse still has value.  All sorts of businesses and organizations produced inventive social media marketing related to the blackout.  Joining in on the social action, when a hot story breaks, allows you access to a larger-than-normal captive audience.  Smart social participation could earn you new followers, amplified brand recognition, increased website traffic and even fresh leads.  Here are a few examples of clever newsjacked tweets:

Clever Newsjacked Tweets

1.  Walgreens @Walgreens: “We do carry candles. #SuperBowl”  and “…we also sell lights. #SuperBowl”

Oreo-SuperBowl-Newsjacking2.  Cars.com @Carsdotcom: “Can’t handle the drama of #poweroutage?  You can still shop for cars on Cars.com. #NoDrama.”

3.  Lance Ulanoff, Editor in Chief of Mashable, @LanceUlanoff:  “The #SuperBowl #Blackout was supposed to be the MVP, but he didn’t have the energy to accept.”

As you can see, the people at Oreo and 360i were not the only ones to newsjack the blackout on Twitter.  In this era where many Americans have smart phones, responding to news events on social media in real time should not be a problem.  The creation of successful newsjacked content no doubt requires fast action, creativity and coordinated strategy.

However, even small business owners without in-house marketing departments should keep their ears open and eyes peeled for the next great newsjacking opportunity and their chance to join in on the real-time action—creating newsjacked content or at least participating in related social media discussion.  Winning more followers and increased social content curation—social sharing—can help you boost website traffic, increase lead generation and garner new business.  Newsjacking truly can help you amplify your social media presence and online influence.

Social media marketing is powerful.  However, real social media success is the result of many factors that need to come first, including a solid marketing platform, excellent content creation, visually appealing website design, effective CTAs and landing pages, and engaging email marketing.  A lot goes into a complete inbound marketing strategy, and one is required in order to fully capitalize on winning in social media.