What Oreo Has Wrought

Let’s begin the week with another entry in the book of social media marketing stupidity.

English: Two regular Oreo cookies. Please chec...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One trend of which you might be aware is real-time content marketing – brands responding to events as they happen. It’s rapid response content creation and the best-known example is Oreo tweeting out a clever marketing message in response to the blackout at last year’s Super Bowl.  This wasn’t the result of a smart intern winging it.  There were ad agency and brand people at Oreo’s social media command center during the game.

The success Oreo had inspired many copy cats.  In fact, a study done around that time found that over half the brand folks surveyed thought they’d be making greater use of real-time data in their marketing.  Fair enough.  Now let’s see what Oreo has wrought.

Yesterday during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS showed a shot of a young Kansas fan who was crying as his team lost.  Some marketing genius at KFC thought it would be clever to tweet out a screengrab of the teary child along with a marketing message to the 500,000 people following their Twitter account.  After all, what better way to sell fried chicken then on the back of an upset kid! It was such a good idea that KFC pulled the tweet down shortly thereafter as someone woke up and realized that finding a sales message in a crying kid’s unhappiness is way over the offensive line.  Credit them for moving fast to pull it down (although it would have been nice if they’d have issued an apology as well).

Contrast this with something I saw this morning in an online golf publication I read.  The former head of the USGA passed away yesterday – the announcement came late in the day.  Less than 12 hours later, the USGA has a tasteful ad in the publication saluting the man.  Real-time?  Not exactly but certainly quickly after the event.  Different from social media?  Yes, although they certainly could have used this in all of their social channels and they did, in fact, do other things in those channels.

Real time doesn’t mean “speak before you think.”  It means coming across as authentic and relevant (and really funny never hurts either).  That’s not as easy as giving a kid the keys to your social account and a TV to watch what’s going on.  It may not take a lot of planning to be good in real-time – that would kind of negate the purpose.  It does take managing, however, which is clearly what someone did after the KFC tweet went out.  Do you see the difference?

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