[Cross-posted on Rex Hammock’s RexBlog.com]

A few seconds after I saw the Super Bowl power outage “Oreo tweet” last night, I was so awed, I responded with the tweet below (Note: the time-stamp is GMT.) Scroll down, and you’ll find my Monday morning thoughts about what made it such a breakthrough use of social media.


Monday morning, 5:30 a.m.:

I’m not a fan of long explanations of the self-evident, but I know there will be much misinterpretation of why the Oreo tweet was brilliant, so I wanted to weigh in before the media sites that write headlines for Google (Huffington Post) start their SEO avalanche of headlines like “10 lessons you can learn from the Oreo tweet.”

Here are my two takeaways of why the Oreo tweet is the most outstanding use of use of Twitter as a unique marketing medium and distribution channel. (Note: There are countless ways to use Twitter, and far more important ways than mere marketing.)

Big Corporations Progressive insurance pie

[Cross-posted from RexBlog.com]

I wish there were some magic pixie dust, let’s call it, say, “social media,” that big companies could sprinkle over themselves so that, suddenly, they would be loved by their customers.

However, I spent a few hours on Saturday  frustrated with a giant corporation that has an awarding-winning, best practices, does-every-possible-social-media-approach. But I still hate them.

With their marketing millions, they tell me they are people, just like me, who will drop everything to help me. But when it comes to a Saturday morning and their customer (me) wants to know why their product isn’t working, they become an impenetrable wall of barriers between me and the help I need.

Last week, Seth Godin, perhaps the most lucid mind and consistently insightful voice in marketing, used his gifted story telling skills and mighty platform to explain
why people hate big corporations
. His example was Progressive Insurance, and the issue used as an example far outstrips the petty frustration I felt.

But, frankly, Seth’s example is too often the norm, and unfortunately, is not isolated to Progressive.

[Cross-posted in RexBlog]

The third* rule of great marketing with content is “keep it simple.”

What does that mean? Here, let me keep it simple.

If your customers purchase guitars, make a video like the one created by the Chicago Music Exchange — 100 guitar riffs that capture the history of rock and roll. (Side lesson: Note the quality of the audio and the helpfulness of the song-by-song title graphics and text listing of the riffs on both the company post and the YouTube description.)

Feed the passion of your customers. Demonstrate how you share that passion. Remind them of the positive things they associate with your product and your company.

And remember the third rule: Keep it simple.


Later: In response to some questions I’ve received, there is not actually (yet) a list of “rules of marketing with content.” I say yet, because I have at least the first four rules. In addition to the first three, found elsewhere on this post, I’ve often tweeted the fourth which, I’ve decided, is actually a corollary to rule No. 3. Rule number No. 4 is found between the brackets in the following tweet:

*As with Fight Club, the first and second rules of great marketing with content are to never talk about marketing with content. I broke those rules with this post.

The press release below, on the left, accompanied the January 27, 2010 announcement of the Apple iPad. The press release on the right accompanied today’s announcement of Microsoft’s  Surface. While both releases follow in a tradition that seems to dictate that  press releases be among the worst content created by large corporations (right up there with instructions if “some assembly is required” and cease-and-desist letters), reading a few paragraphs of these two releases can help you understand why Apple is Apple, the brilliant marketing company; and Microsoft is, well, a wonderful American company we can all be proud of, bless their heart  (as we say where I live).Here’s what to look for (and again, these are press releases, not actual “writing,” so forgive the “constructed-by-committee” mule-ish style of both): From the get-go, Apple positions the iPad as a “Magical & Revolutionary Device at an Unbelievable Price.” Microsoft, on the other hand, calls Surface, “Microsoft-made hardware to be available starting with release of Windows 8 and Windows RT.” In other words, the Apple press release is talking to consumers while the Microsoft release is talking to the industry.The entire Microsoft release is dedicated to listing features and attributes of the Surface. The Apple release focuses on the magical things a person can do with the iPad.The essence of Apple is found in this excerpt:

I Love Lucy title screen, comparing apps to tv shows Over the weekend, the smart and successful VC Fred Wilson used the metaphor of TV shows vs. TV networks to suggest that investors (and the rest of us) sometimes (often?) confuse the significance of various kinds of web-based startups.

Anyone who has used the Internet for more than five years should immediately recognize what he’s suggesting. Some things we believe will define the future — things that are so disruptive they will do away with institutions that have been in place for centuries — turn out to be “I Love Lucy” or MySpace.

If I were to debate this topic (and I’m not), my position would be this: In this metaphor TV is “the Internet.” Everything else is a TV show.