2013 was no different, and last year was all about Oreo. The agility that brand showed has carried plenty of momentum into the marketing zeitgeist, and many have been quick to try and mimic that success.

To recap, at one point during the erm … match? game? play?, the floodlights went out.

Within a couple of minutes, the Oreo social team had put together a fairly pants image-based tweet declaring that their customers could still dunk in the dark.

This was sensationally lauded as a huge success, backed by thousands of retweets on Twitter, countless social media blogs, and by marketers across the globe, and a new buzzword hit the blogosphere: real-time marketing.

Now, there is some real substance to this. How far we’ve come from static press releases, staged media briefings and print media in just a decade is nothing short of staggering.

The ability for brands to react as quickly as their customers to current, fast-moving affairs has become increasingly important in the Twitter age, as has been well documented over the past year.

But as brands have scrambled to climb aboard the real-time marketing train, has this marked a significant change in the way brands and consumers communicate?

The answer’s not so simple. This year’s Super Bowl, for example, saw far more brands expertly prepared for any Oreoppurtinities that may have arisen, replete with sophisticated command centers as the centerpiece for the campaign, such as this installation for Jaguar. 

The pace of change has been fast, and the past year has seen more brands embracing social media more intimately. Think integrated hashtag campaigns, command centers and promoted tweets.

So with more brands geared up for real-time marketing than ever before – there was even a #RTMbowl Twitter chat, surely the engagement rates were through the roof?

As it transpired, they really weren’t. Few real-time campaigns managed to generate any significant interest and most of the digital discussion focused on the good ol’ fashioned TV ads.

Even the #RTMbowl chatter quickly transformed into bitter feuds between marketers criticising each other’s campaigns.

So it’s noteworthy that most major brands appear to be well-equipped for the agile, social age and 2014 represents an era of organizations taking social seriously. The key point I’m trying to make here is that being real-time is no longer enough.

Instead, we’ve returned to something that has been at the heart of almost every successful marketing initiative to date. Creativity, relevance and wit are every bit as important as the new kids on the block: agility, speed and humanity (being like a real person).

You can’t just be the latter, as the core messaging is too poor to generate interest. Likewise, it’s difficult to be simply the former, as it’ll be too late to the party and people will have moved.

So the message to marketers is simple: equipping the tools and adopting the corporate mindset to be successful in social is a battle well won, but you’ll need to rely on tried and tested creativity – that old girl – to truly succeed online.

For more on this topic, see Econsultancy’s new Real-Time Marketing Survey Report