Social Media

The Importance of Timeliness


When the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl, one company took quick decisive action to become the biggest advertising win of the night. It wasn’t done in a multi-million dollar 30-second ad, either. It was done on Twitter by the Oreo division of Nabisco.

Oreo sent a tweet within minutes of the power failing and the game being called to a halt. The tweet simply said, “Power out? No Problem.” This tweet was accompanied by a very simple image with a grey gradient background that featured the words at the bottom, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

This single tweet made Oreo possibly the biggest news story of the most important night in advertising. Approximately 16,000 people retweeted the Oreo image. Uncounted millions of people were made aware of it within minutes. To take it a step further, the word-of-mouth response by the media and at water coolers around the country was priceless. It cost Oreo nothing to send the tweet beyond the wages paid to the people responsible for creating the image and sending the message.

Timeliness trumps everything. If you can craft your message around an issue that people are actively talking about in social media, on YouTube, and throughout homes across the country, you have a far greater chance of having your message heard than you would if you came up with a crafty slogan and slapped it on an ad.

Another great example of a timely message is the Cheerios commercial above. General Mills capitalized on a trend that may not appear timely at first glance, but is very relevant to the current climate in the U.S., when it decided to introduce a multi-racial family to a Spring 2013 ad campaign. At a time when the United States is actively discussing what marriage means, this simple Cheerios campaign made headlines because it pushed a boundary that (while controversial to some) did little more than spread the message that Cheerios is good for your heart.

The Cheerios ad became the hot topic on The View, racked up over four million views on YouTube, and created conversation around water coolers throughout the country.

Timeliness may not be the only ingredient to success, but it certainly helps when it comes to making your brand a topic of discussion, and it’s that random conversation between people at work, on social media, and in living rooms around the world that makes the biggest impact.

6 comments on “The Importance of Timeliness

  1. Thanks so much Ryan, what a great post. Thanks for giving me something new to think about tonight.


  2. Love this. This kind of timeliness is more loosely defined than the “newsjacking” PR pros love to talk about, but is just as important. Nicely written!


  3. Spook SEO

    Hey Ryan. Though I’m not sure if I’ll agree with timeliness trumping everythng, I’m pretty sure that it does play a GINORMOUS ROLE when it comes to catching people’s attention or making a post viral.

    I’d go with creating an emotional connection with the viewers as probably my number 1 on the list when it comes to advertising.

    Thanks for sharing. Your post is amazing! Cheers!


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