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In recent months, we've seen lots of brands launching real time campaigns in response to national events, producing great opportunist campaigns.

Good examples include, Golden Wonder's fast reaction to Sir Alex Fergusan's retirement, and the Bodyform Facebook response.

One brand that seems to have mastered this agile marketing technique is Oreo - consistently firing out responsive creative.

So what's the secret?

According to the Econsultancy's Modern Marketing Manifesto, it's the ability to be responsive and adaptive, to be flexible and embrace change.

It's no mean feat.

As a household brand with a strong personality, it demands that the company trusts its creative directors, be it agency or in-house. It requires monitoring of pretty much every major event and of what people are tweeting and searching for.

It also asks for marketing resources and processes to accomodate for 'no planning' and out of office hours.

Perhaps most importantly, it requires clear brand values (because it can go wrong e.g. Tesco's horsemeat tweets).

Here comes one tough cookie

So Oreo have devised the correct environment in which to deliver truly agile marketing campaigns.

They hit the headlines of agile marketing during the 34 minute blackout in the last Super Bowl, tweeting, “You can still dunk in the dark”. 

Oreo superbowl

The result of which was retweeted more than 15,000 times within 14 hours.

In total, Oreo has well and truly signed up to the creative direction and now has a catalogue of great examples around popular discussion topics online - typically using Twitter as its vehicle.

*Not in any particular order (except maybe the last one).

Mars Rover landing

 Mars Rover Lands

National Cheesecake Day

National Cheescake Day

National Elvis Week 

National Elvis Week

Gay Pride

Gay Pride

Dark Knight Rises movie launch 

Dark Knight Rises launch

Giant panda baby 

Shin Shin's baby

And most recently, the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge just last week

Baby Prince of Cambridge

And just to prove Oreo has agile at its core, AMC theatre's quick response to Oreo's tweet was equally as cooly replied to. Note: all tweets in the thread actually received more RTs and favouriting than possibly expected from the initial post.

Bravo, Oreo. Keep up the good work. 

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Published 29 July, 2013 by Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Simms is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult&C Digital and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

12 more posts from this author

Comments (15)

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Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis, Google Analytics Analyst at Koozai

This is great, I'd missed most of these. We need some of this kind of marketing in the UK! Although I did like the recent O2, Innocent, Tango and Betfair discussion on Twitter.

I think brands really need to study what's being done well and mistakes made and then get their social media in gear to be more like these companies. You'd have thought social media's been around long enough now!

about 3 years ago

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mark mitchell

nice recap piece.

about 3 years ago

Ben Liau

Ben Liau, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing Manager at Meyer Cookware Australia

Its definitely the way to go, to be able to connect with your customers, companies need to be agile and quick respond, rather than going through levels and levels of red tape. Great to see how awesome brands in action.

about 3 years ago

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Andy Smith, Marketing Assistant at Esendex

I would say that most of these could be and probably were planned for well in advance. But still it's nice to see marketing aimed at current events.

I would probably use the term like highjack marketing though.

about 3 years ago

Alex Sandover

Alex Sandover, Head of Digital and Online Retail at R.Twinings and Company Limited

You obviously didn't see all the tweets and controversy the Oreo Royal Baby bottle posts caused.

The group of mothers trying to bring awareness to breast feeding lobbied Oreo and Twinings Tea to change their advertising images away from baby bottle images.

Twinings moved in an agile way and changed the image immediately - Oreo on the other hand has still to answer this group of ladies.

May be they thought these women had no case and didn't feel it warranted a response.

At Twinings all the social media is in house, run by real people who can response quickly to real peoples concerns. I'm not staying they get it right all the time, however at least they enter into the debate of life.

Here is a blog link to the article mentioned: http://jodinesworld.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/twinings-tea-removes-royal-baby-bottle.html?m=1

almost 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Alex I was aware of that but I don't think the ad was intended to be anti-breast feeding.

That said, removing complaints from its Facebook page was very clumsy of Oreo.

almost 3 years ago

Angus Phillipson

Angus Phillipson, Director at Byte9

@graham @alex

Interested in what you think marks this out as 'agile' marketing, as opposed to just turning around something quickly.

I see increasing use of the term 'agile marketing', but have yet to see a meaningful definition of what agile marketing actually is and how it works.

Is there a marketing equivalent of SCRUM methodology? Or are marketers adopting SCRUM? How is velocity measured? Is there a metric for value created?

regards

angus

almost 3 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

Thanks for the comments, all.

@Andy - I think their ability to respond so quickly does require a bit of forethought and can be planned to an extent e.g. the national days or birth, but without wanting to bang on about these examples too much, no one can deny that their reaction to the blackout and cinema RT takes a more flexible approach.

@Alex - I too saw the reaction over the image, but I think it's worth remembering that whoever your brand is, it's unlikely that your media will be agreeable to every consumer/audience. We've all seen Points of View after all! I guess they just decided to run with it and take the consequences, and let's face it, a bottle is actually a symbol that represents a baby whether the mother chooses to use it or not. I'm not saying it's the best way to manage a PR issue like this, but they clearly felt that not removing the image was right for their brand, equally as Twinings thought it was correct for theirs to change the image.

@Angus - a fair point, but the definition is unlikely to exactly match everything included in the agile methodology. Rather, I think the point in calling this approach 'agile' is that it adopts the characteristics that give it its flexible framework as opposed to a more traditional planned manner e.g. ability to change direction or maximising the team's ability to deliver and respond quickly etc.

Kind regards,
Rhian

almost 3 years ago

Edwyn Raine

Edwyn Raine, Digital Strategist at Evolution 7

Thanks author,
The super bowel was a defining moment in agile marketing's history without question, but I think this approach to marketing is not going to sustainable for the long-haul.
Real agile marketing will require more than quick Photoshop jobs, you can see this by the article about "Royally desperate brands".

Future agile marketing will need more creativity and more resources to break into the lime light like Oreo did at the Super-bowl (I hope I never read about that piece of marketing ever again!).

almost 3 years ago

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Aine

Great post, in today's world creativity is everything, people look only for great content.

almost 3 years ago

Alex Sandover

Alex Sandover, Head of Digital and Online Retail at R.Twinings and Company Limited

Thanks everyone.

For us its all about personal contact and trying to react as quickly as possible to either a persons emotional response to the work we do or to a marketing opportunity.

We try to be as inclusive as possible and to be honest the bottle issue did catch us on the hop a little and this wasn't a reaction we had thought would come our way. This being said we want to be inclusive as possible. If a person (120 very vocal tweets plus three blog stories) has a strong and valid reaction to one of our marketing campaigns, we prefer to consider their thoughts and position - and we will most likely tweak our message accordingly.

Thanks

Alex

almost 3 years ago

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Sharan Cheema, Account Director at Navigate Digital

@Rhian Great post, thanks. Oreo are definitely a great example of agile marketing and their 'blackout' tweet just reinforces this.

However do you think brands, including Oreo, are in danger of feeling the need to react to everything? e.g. the Royal Baby. We've seen so many examples of brands marketing in real-time over the past week over the event that it can sometimes dilute the message.

almost 3 years ago

Angus Phillipson

Angus Phillipson, Director at Byte9

@rhian yes, the Agile Manifesto is for software development, so not wholly applicable.

But within agile there are a number of methodologies (like SCRUM), that are absolutely not flexible. Removing traditional constraints from a project and replacing them with something else is inherently very risky.

Witness many failed attempted 'agile' software projects by inexperienced teams who believe it is just about having a flexible framework and saying they are responsive to change and work in sprints and that this is a good thing. I would much rather an inexperienced team following a waterfall methodology, than complete' agile' meltdown, which would be the inevitable result for an inexperienced team.

I just worry that a flexible framework for any kind of project is a prelude to disaster, the framework should be rigid but allow responsive processes within it!

IMHO agile marketing needs some process and methodological definition if it is to become meaningful.

regards

angus

almost 3 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

All very valid points and opinions. It's really interesting to hear other perspectives.

Thanks for adding to the conversation!

Rhian

almost 3 years ago

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Shane Adams

I think Oreo is doing great work with their marketing, but of the examples above 6 of the 8 were a part of their PLANNED Daily Twist campaign they ran on Facebook that was planned far in advance by their agencies. Of the remaining two, the #RoyalBaby one was hardly agile...they had 9 months to plan for it!

I was actually a part of the internal AMC group that came up with the tweet to Oreo and I'd argue that our agility far outweighed Oreo's in that situation. We responded to their first tweet within 8 minutes of them putting the initial one out. It took them a full day to respond with their "cool response."

Their marketing is smart and they've built themselves to be very responsive, but that response is not without planning. 360i, their social agency, did an entire writeup on how they prepared for the "Dunk in the Dark" tweet.

The lesson here is that good planning allows us the ability to be agile. You can't just do it on your own. You have to anticipate and be able to react based on what you think might happen.

almost 3 years ago

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