If you work for a brand, please consider the following question:

If the famous Oreo Superbowl tweet were for a knock-off “store-brand” sandwich cookie, would it be as famous?

Put another way, did that timely tweet cause a star to be born? Or was the real winner the agency that connected with the bon mot? Have we all discovered a great new product from that tweet? Or is it the navel-gaze of agency land that has kept alive the legend of the “immaculate tweet”?

This is not sour grapes because I was not on the agency team. Oreo’s digital agency 360i did an outstanding job of getting buzz for their client. That’s a truly great thing because brands want to be visible. They want “buzz.” They love “viral.” Brands – sometimes at any cost – want to be famous.

This is the natural order of things for brands: if they’re not famous they have a lower enterprise value and suffer from diminished distribution and – by definition – sales. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be famous.

But, as we know from watching the demise of so many momentarily famous acts, being famous doesn’t necessarily mean being good.

ArbysTweetHatFrom the time that the Oreo tweet sent agency executives of all kinds into a spiraling tizzy, it has been clear that the real outcome would not be realized until the next major televised event. It took a while, but the Agency one-upsmanship game was in full effect. And the main agency rag covered it. –>

Slayed??? Without question Arby’s performance has improved markedly in the past 3 years but without any contribution from a tweet making fun of Pharrell’s hat…

Don’t Hate, Appreciate
A slick, strong agency success is a great thing to behold because everyone wins: the paying client, the consuming consumer, and the slaving agency. Agencies sell themselves as being able to turn a brand that may not necessarily be good into a brand that is famous. For sure there are good anonymous companies that try and create some kind of “hook” that will propel them into the realm of the universally known. And I know personally many agency executives who were utterly gobsmacked by that single tweet.

To arrive at the true lesson of the Oreo Tweet, we turn to Monty Python’s “The Writer’s Sketch”

Oreo is an iconic brand. The tweet was clever. But nobody new has decided to sample an Oreo. Same for Arby’s: nobody who saw the tweet has veered off their course to step into an Arby’s for the first time. The TV Event Tweet War is nothing more than an exercise in agency one-upsmanship.

Hopefully the brands involved find it fun to watch, because they’re paying for it.