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How Oreo's Real-Time Marketing Won Big at the Super Bowl


During the 2013 Super Bowl, an unexpected power outage caused the lights to go out in the Superdome, delaying the game for 34 minutes. While players and fans waited in confusion, Oreo saw an opportunity to engage with consumers in real-time. Their clever "You can still dunk in the dark" tweet demonstrated the power of nimble, on-the-spot marketing.

The Blackout

On February 3, 2013, the Baltimore Ravens were leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6 in Super Bowl XLVII when half of the lights in the Superdome suddenly went out. With the biggest television event of the year interrupted, brands scrambled to respond.

Oreo's Real-Time Marketing

Oreo's social media team acted quickly, designing a simple ad with the text "You can still dunk in the dark" over an Oreo cookie on a black background. They posted the ad on Twitter within minutes of the blackout, generating immediate engagement.

"You can still dunk in the dark" over an Oreo cookie on a black background. | Avishka Laknath | Avishka Digital
"You can still dunk in the dark"


  • The "dunk in the dark" tweet was retweeted over 15,000 times within an hour.

  • Oreo gained over 20,000 new Twitter followers that night.

  • The tweet generated 525 million impressions, demonstrating the power of real-time marketing.

  • Research found the tweet generated over $4 million worth of media exposure for Oreo.

Key Takeaways

  1. Capitalize on real-time opportunities - Oreo turned an unexpected event into a marketing win through quick thinking.

  2. Have a nimble approval process - Oreo's social team didn't need lengthy approvals to act fast.

  3. Be clever and relevant - The humorous ad fit the moment and engaged consumers.

  4. Move fast - Oreo designed and posted their tweet within minutes, leading the real-time marketing response.

  5. The "dunk in the dark" moment showed how a brand can insert itself into a cultural conversation in the moment. Oreo demonstrated that real-time social marketing, when done right, can generate impressive results. Their clever Super Bowl tweet remains a legendary case study in nimble marketing.

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