Journalism 202: Memorable Advertisements

This post is an assignment for my Journalism 202 class — please keep that in mind when reading. [Prompt]

As consumers, we’re blasted with dozens of advertisements a day, trying to sell us products or change our point of view on something. The best commercials, though, are ones that consumers, through word of mouth, seek out for themselves. This phenomenon is called ‘viral advertising’, and it’s an ad agency’s Holy Grail.

Viral advertisements are often carefully planned out, but one of the most memorable of them was spurred by an accident during the 2013 Super Bowl. The power suddenly went out, throwing the stadium into pitch-black darkness for a few moments. While everyone on the field was trying to get the lights back on, the social media team at Oreo shifted into high gear, and in a moment of genius, tweeted this photo:


The photo was quickly retweeted by followers, and eventually resulted in over 16,000 shares – one of the most successful tweets in history. It was memorable because it was time-sensitive – posted just minutes after the event happened – and it was witty. It didn’t try to sell Oreos (at least directly) and was just a quip based on Oreo culture; specifically, the image the cookie has built up for itself over the past decades as the “dunking” cookie.

Basically, the tweet was a perfect storm of capitalizing on its past image, dry wit, and the right moment, and that’s why it was one of the most memorable advertising moments of 2013.


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