Ready the War Room

In the world of advertising and marketing, everything changes. Constantly. Whether it is the mediums through which we communicate, or things that are deemed “cool,” part of being effective communicators is knowing that you always have to keep an eye out for what big changes are headed your way.

Yet how do you do that when it takes weeks of approvals, edits, production and placement to get an advertisement from the creative department’s brain to the consumer’s eyes? Especially when a message is centered around a big cultural event and needs to happen right away?

Lately, some agencies have been creating “marketing war rooms” that are staffed with essential, key personnel whose sole purpose is to find the one ‘water-cooler moment’ (the one thing everyone will be talking about at work the next day) that takes place during events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl, for example. By keeping an eye on the event and the conversations surrounding the event (via Twitter and Facebook), these agencies are able to pinpoint key messaging opportunities and cut through all the noise to deliver exceptional advertisements.

As a now classic example, we look to the Super Bowl that took place in 2013 in New Orleans. Halfway through the game, the power went out in the stadium. Within minutes, Oreo posted the following picture to their official Twitter account:

Literally, within minutes of the blackout. And without spending millions of dollars for a :30 second spot that would have probably gotten lost in the crowd, Oreo reigned supreme. How did they do it? By having a “marketing war room” and paying attention.

Now, not every agency can afford to have a war room for every single event that takes place. It’s just not practical. However, there is a lot that we can learn from Oreo’s trailblazing efforts:

  • Pay attention to the conversations – by focusing on Twitter and Facebook (among other social media outlets), see what people are saying about certain events and the ‘water-cooler moment’ will rise to the top
  • Timing is everything – If Oreo would have waited to get all levels of approval and produced the ad to be shown on TV or in a magazine, it would not have had nearly the same impact that it did
  • Stay true to your message – sometimes, the ‘water-cooler moment’ might not have anything to do with your brand. If that’s the case, wait until you find one that does
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and be unconventional – this is where the best advertising comes from.

So the only remaining question is: are you doing everything you can to effectively rise above the noise?

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Posted in Blog.