Why You Shouldn’t Invest In “Real-Time Marketing”


It all seemed to start with a dunk in the dark in February 2013. The tweet from an infamous cookie brand heard round the world at last year’s Super Bowl. Yes, the famous Oreo dunk in the dark tweet.

It was like a simultaneous lightbulb went off for thousands of brand marketers and agency folks. We can do this too. Suddenly, a trend was born. A really, really bad trend, I would add.

Now, fast forward to every major national television event, brands rally to be more clever and wittier than each other. You wind up with brands like JC Penney’s or Denny’s, who will literally stop at nothing — all in the sake of real-time marketing. Brands are trying so hard to be hip, cool, witty and clever. That they actually wind up looking, dare I say, pathetic. After all, there’s nothing funny about trying way too hard to be funny. That’s what so many brands are doing. They are trying way to hard. Case and point, this tweet from JC Penney’s during this year’s Super Bowl.



All the while, I keep thinking back to how we learned nothing from the Old Spice viral video days of oh- three years ago. Back then, every marketer and agency thought the Old Spice videos were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Literally, every brand had their own spoof of it. Even Sesame Street. Guess what, every single brand’s attempt at copying this viral video format didn’t amount to as many views and exposure as the original Old Spice videos. Not even Sesame Street’s parody.

Only instead of mimicing a viral video, we are now trying to copy this “magical formula” for the perfect, viral tweet. Seriously, have we learned nothing?  Zilch. Na-da. Nothing.

[quote style=”boxed”]To quote one of my all-time favorite marketers, Scott Stratton,“People SHARE AWESOME.” There is nothing awesome about trying to mimic someone’s else success or case study.[/quote]

Here’s my proposition to you. Instead of trying to one-up Oreo and all the other so-called real-time marketers out there, focus on creating VALUE for your customers and/or potential customers.

The beauty of content marketing is there is no limit to the type of content that you create or for that matter when you create it. Instead of only creating content when every other brand is (like at the Superbowl or Oscars), create kickass, super awesome content on an ordinary Friday afternoon. With compelling enough content and the right “social marketing nudges,” it can take off and flourish even if there are so-called less people online at that time of day.

It’s not so much about when you push out content as it is grabbing people’s attention. Statistically, you are way more likely to do that on an ordinary day – as opposed to the Superbowl.

About the author

Jessica Malnik


  • The common element in the Old Spice and Oreo stunts is that they were original. Once a thing has been done, it’s been done. There’s no novelty. And copycats are notoriously poor imitators. Who wants to watch that?

    Furthermore, brands have no idea WTF they are doing these days. They’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker the dogma of social media gurus, swamis, ninjas and the like, most of whom couldn’t strategize their way out of a wet paper bag. On the advice of these johnny-come-latelys, brands seem to think sound business strategy involves trying to be the Internet class clown or providing social commentary on pop culture current events. They do so at the expense of actually creating better products and services that bring people together as a result of sheer awesomeness.

    But this shouldn’t be surprising. It’s always been easier to be mediocre with a megaphone than to aspire to the kind of greatness that prompts others to sing your praises for you.