Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Dunk in The Dark.” A single tweet is all this brand needed to win the Big Game! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

November 13, 2020

Imagine watching your favorite sports team on TV. You’re already “in the zone,” shouting and cheering for your team even though you’re only watching from home.

The competition is already onto its third quarter. As you continue to watch, suddenly…


The electricity went off.

The power outage lasted for 45 minutes and when it was restored, you immediately turned your TV on, only to find out that the game between your favorite team and its opponent had already ended.

Frustrating, right?

In 2013, a similar situation also happened in one of the biggest championship stages in sports. However, since this brand was able to think on its feet, it was able to shine bright in the midst of the blackout.

Oreo is an American sandwich brand famous for its oreo cookies, which are made up of two chocolate wafers with a sweet cream filling. It is the best selling cookie brand in the United States. Oreo is currently being manufactured and distributed by the Nabisco division of American multinational food company Mondelēz International.

“Slam Dunking in The Dark”

Oreo has been using its “Twist, Lick, Dunk” tagline for 33 years now since 1987, telling consumers the best way to eat and savor the taste of their Oreo cookies―twisting the cookie to separate it, licking the filling, and “dunking” or dipping it in a glass of milk.

Considering the fact that the tagline has existed that long, you would probably think that it has lost its magic and appeal to the public. However, in 2013, Oreo was still able to put a fresh twist into it.


Through its “Dunk in The Dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl!

In the midst of an intense third quarter battle between American football teams Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, a power outage occurred at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The situation lasted for 34 minutes, plunging the stadium into darkness and leaving TV viewers confused as to why the football coverage was suddenly cut off.

While a lot of football teams, fans, and viewers were left in the dark, no other brand pulled off a “more fancy footwork” than Oreo.

The famous cookie brand capitalized on the massive power outage situation by posting a simple tweet on its Twitter account. The post showed a dimly-lit Oreo cookie with the words, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

Source: Oreo Facebook Page, February 4, 2013

According to Lisa Mann, Vice President of Cookies at Mondelēz International, the tweet was part of a “carefully architected social media strategy that made the brand ready to respond to whatever the Big Game threw its way.”

As part of the sponsors at the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo’s social media management team decided to have a social media command center for the brand in order to respond to real-time buzz.

The command center consisted of people from integrated creative and media agency 360i as well as representatives from all of Oreo’s other partner marketing agencies, namely: Wieden+Kennedy, Mediavest, and Weber Shandwick.

Of course, no one would have anticipated the blackout. However, when it occurred, all of Oreo’s representatives at the command center were able to jump on a real-time marketing opportunity.

They wanted people to see the blackout through Oreo’s eyes.

How did Oreo see the Super Bowl’s power outage?

As an opportunity to “dunk in the dark”―hence, the tweet. It was also reposted by Oreo on its official Facebook account.

Source: Oreo Facebook Page, February 4, 2013

Was Oreo’s “Dunk in The Dark” Tweet Effective?

Just a day after it was posted on Twitter, the tweet accumulated around 15,000 retweets, while the Facebook post recorded approximately 20,000 likes. The “Dunk in The Dark” image also garnered USD 525 million earned media impressions.

Oreo’s Twitter followers increased by 8,000 and its Instagram followers went from just 2,000 (pre-Super Bowl game) to 36,000 (post-Super Bowl game), with 16,000 photos in relation to the “Dunk in The Dark” post uploaded from followers’ personal accounts.

In an article that was published by American news aggregator and blog site The Huffington Post, it was stated that “one of the most buzz-worthy ads of the [2013] Super Bowl…wasn’t even a commercial―it was a mere tweet from Oreo during the blackout.”

Oreo, together with 360i, won a Cannes Silver Lion Award for Best Use of Digital Direct Marketing and a Cannes Bronze Lion Award for Best Viral Advertising.

Wish we could all win a Cannes Lions Award for just a single tweet!

According to Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i, in an environment where marketers are spending almost USD 4 million to run a spot during the Big Game, having a brand respond in real-time is a “clever way to reach people on smartphones and computers.”

Because of its real-time response to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, Oreo was seen by consumers as a clever, interesting, and sharp brand.

After all, when you don’t have much to do during a blackout, one of the easiest things you can do is to enjoy your Oreo cookies and a glass of milk in the dark.

Touchdown, Oreo!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Friday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing is inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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