[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.)

1. Content isn’t king. Brilliant, creative content is king.

I’ve been saying this for several years: Twitter is something you can never understand until you stop listening to what gurus and experts tell you it is and actually use it. Only then will you understand Twitter beyond buzzwords like “engagement” and “conversational.” You’ll comprehend it at a visceral level. You’ll know how its impact comes from knowing the role of professional users of Twitter: marketers, media-types, tech-savvy, pop-culture hipsters — the tipping-point influencers — the types who have large numbers of followers who, in turn, have large numbers of followers. Twitter’s brilliance is like the brilliance of fireflies in a Mason jar, however. It lasts a nanosecond. And for marketers, it requires the type of courage you rarely find at a company the size of Nabisco: It must be done with no corporate safety net … other than telling the wittiest, smartest, most creative people you can hire that the only rules are don’t be stupid, never use a Hitler reference, and don’t get the company sued or me fired. Let them go, and get out of the way.

2. Like blogging before it, Twitter rewards instantaneous, improvisational creativity — and courage. I wrote about the role of improvisation in blogging in 2006 (it’s more important than grammar). Here’s some of what I wrote then:

“While integrity, honesty, ethical standards of journalism, etc., can still govern the practice of blogging, the process of institutional editing, legal compliance and corporate communications conspire against someone’s ability to extemporize or be courageous. Like independent film and music, independent blogging will likely always be the most compelling….It’s like jazz.”

It will be hard for those who read about the Oreo tweet later to understand why it was brilliant. However, if you experienced it live and you are a long-time “professional” user of Twitter and the social media that came before it, you witnessed it in the same way a jazz musician who hears someone insert an amazing lick into a jazz standard understands that the lick will change the song forever.

Linkage: Buzzfeed – “How Oreo got that Twitter ad up so fast” Quote: “The key? Having OREO executives in the room, and ready to pull the trigger. ‘You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic'”