Too many Oreos (or: I don’t like social media)

The famous 2013 Oreo Superbowl tweet seems to still be making the rounds in digital marketing conferences. I find this quite amazing because its actual, real-world result was in fact quite small:

Now, I don’t want to sound like a bad case of sour grapes, so let me go just a tad beyond the 140 characters to explain why I think brands don’t belong on social media.

I think Oreo’s social media team did a great job on this one: it doesn’t look like the intern did it. Timely, funny, giving a prominent place to the product, it’s great material and it speaks volumes about the marketing chops of this $2bn subsidiary of Mondelez (a $35bn revenue business).

However, it was retweeted just short of 16k times, and favorited 6.5k times. It’s huge for any brand’s social media efforts, but it’s pretty lame by Twitter standards. In fairness, I haven’t done more than about 90 seconds of “research” on this topic, but I’m unconvinced that anyone has done much better.

So… Social media is an opportunity for customer service, and that’s a challenge in itself. Social media may be interesting to source some consumer intelligence, although I doubt anyone still thinks of the data so gathered as unbiased (as opposed to, say, searches, which are simply a much greater pool with — for now — less incentive for massive deliberate skews).

But a tool for branding? I’m just not convinced.

Social media is a place for people to talk to people. Possibly about brands. But with brands? Brands aren’t people, my friends!

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