Google “Oreo Tweet” and what will you see? Superbowl Lights Out 2013. The tweet showing the world how social media, news-jacking, and contextual marketing can be executed flawlessly. It’s a tweet that was heard around the world. Even today, seven years later, people are commenting on it. One recent petition was that it should be in the Louvre. Talk about a tweet aging well!
And right next to it (ok wait, go to the next page) is Leo Morejon. Upfront, he states it was a team effort, but Leo was instrumental in the quick pivot to make it happen and still is invited to share his insights on how social media is used to move the needle for businesses.
Now, he is the Senior Manager of Social Media Marketing at Applegate, hosts an online show called Prove It Matters, Adjunct Professor of Social Media Strategy at WVU, and guest speaking everywhere between all of that. Zack Rosenburg, CEO of CatapultX, and Ron Perry, VP of Marketing, video-chatted with the godfather of contextual marketing, to discuss the famous Oreo Super Bowl Blackout Tweet and the future of AI marketing, while Zack finishes his breakfast of what else, Oreo Cookies.
Leo: Sure, that’s probably the biggest thing. After that, I’ve been mostly involved in building the systems and the engine that will go ahead and create these kinds of things in real-time.
The next client I worked with was at Accenture an insurance company, and now I was the “Oreo Guy.” I showed up to that meeting, and it was expected that I do the same for them, and I was like, “I can’t do this!” First of all, I can’t do this for anybody. It’s not happening ever again, really, and for multiple reasons. It was Oreo; it was the right time and moment; social was a different “thing” at the time. It just happened to be that something happened, and we jumped in. Also, to get to that takes a lot of manpower and a lot of watching and practicing.
So, going back to answer your question, it’s building the systems to be as contextual as possible. And for us, it’s based on culture jacking or jumping on to trends. And that’s what we’re focused on. But I always feel like we’re behind and that the brands that shouldn’t be doing it are the ones trying to do it a lot of the time.
Leo: The reason we were there is because there was another agency that was sculpting things out of cream to launch our Instagram channel. It was “you send us a picture, put a hashtag, and we’ll sculpt it.” We were in that room just for that.
Before that, we had a Guinness World Record for the most Facebook likes in 2011. And then we had something called The Daily Twist, which was one hundred days of culture-jacking. So, for one hundred days, we got in the room, we looked at the news that was happening, wasn’t happening; developed creative and we posted it. We had that muscle ready to go. I would say for that one moment, it was three years and then one hundred days before we could even make that happen.
Leo: I don’t pander, but I’m like…Wow! That’s actually really cool, like legitimate goosebumps. You recorded that part, right? I can say it again if you need me to! I wish I could like show you guys! Look! Goosebumps! I’m legit excited about it. My brain is going in ways that I can use it from my perspective, like get a notification of what’s happening and I’m like “Oh shit! Cool. Let me jump in on that.” Because I’m always looking online, and I still miss things. If I’ve got to go to the bathroom or I’m writing a tweet about something that happened ten minutes ago, and then something cooler happens. Suddenly, I will get an email from someone with something like, “Did you see they just mentioned your brand?” And I’m like, “No!”
But if I have a system like yours, I go ahead and do that.
Ok! Let’s say we were doing a live stream, which has become more popular than ever. If we wanted to monetize that a bit, and the gardener was outside making noise, and [CatapultX] tech realized that you were wearing Skullcandy headphones…and I’m just exploring here… but even though that sound came up and it was annoying, now your tool would run an ad and sell that! F$%#! That was noise annoying, but now I can solve that with ads?!
I mean, you can think about the word “ownable.” Everybody, every single marketing meeting I’m ever in they ask, “What can we own?” And this is a way for us to own it.
Leo: Right. It’s like the cool kids in marketing trying to do it. A lot of times, I get asked, and I’m the first one to say “Is Wendy’s selling more burgers?” Right? But that’s if they’re not because they’re in a position where they are a household brand. They’re going to be selling burgers whether they do this or not. We’re going to be selling Oreo cookies. We have an opportunity as advertisers, as businesspeople, to push it forward. Oreo had that ability to push that forward, to build out that team that was expensive, to build out that newsroom that was expensive, and go ahead and do it because we, truthfully, didn’t have to worry about selling more cookies or not.
But if they’re insurance, where A) the brand is not necessarily liked all the time, B) they don’t have the same resources, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing it, and C) maybe if the brand as a whole isn’t being complementary and supplementary to everything else that they’re doing. Essentially if the brand voice isn’t in tune with the brand personality, what the heck are you doing? And for me, that’s the sweet spot.
So, A) have the resources if you want to do it, and B) the brand action actually fits with the brand voice. You could change the brand voice. It’s like Travelers Insurance can decide now to be more like Geico. And that’s perfectly fine, and so it’s not jarring.
I like to think a lot about what I do based on comedians. So, a lot of times, comedians won’t get in trouble. South Park is a good example. South Park never gets in trouble for saying what they say because they’re always saying crazy things. But if they [brands] focus on building a brand that they want, then they can go and do and say whatever they want, as long as it fits the personality they build and reflect that persona.
Leo: Just looking at my own perspective, this tool could tell you Will Farrell is more important to my audience. I want to know that if I want to start tweeting because I’m tweeting in real-time anyway. I don’t have a content calendar in draft. I have some general that are going out. In real-time, I’m going to see what’s trending, and I’m going to see what I should and shouldn’t post. A lot of times, it’s based off what I think is cool. What I think is cool doesn’t always do well. I have five tweets that I was telling my girlfriend about, that I thought was funny, but then had to tell her, “These did horribly!”
But if I had something that would actually index better with the audience, then go with that - like this. In split seconds. That’s for me personally what’s worth it.
A lot of people are coming into real-time when they shouldn’t be jumping in real-time. One, we were Oreo. That is an important part. It was contextual but less contextual than what you guys are doing. You were able to build an algorithm that kind of does it within seconds… I think in fact, brands that can’t be jumping in because they’re not Oreo, can jump in because of the technology that you’re providing them now.
Leo: It is both, and I think it depends on the channel. I’ve tested Reddit, and I’m personally seeing the most success I’ve ever seen on Reddit because it’s such a community of focused, passionate individuals on any specific topic. Say you are into podcasts, and you are on Reddit every day, and they are really active. I know Facebook is trying to do the same kind of thing. Somebody likes the podcasts page, or they talked about podcasts, or Twitter is the worst at this, someone mentions podcasts once, and they will serve them ads somewhere podcasts shows up.
But on Reddit, these are people that are passionate about podcasts. These are people that are passionate about X-Y-Z. That’s what I’m able to go ahead and focus on. Shit, that’s amazing.
Leo: This is always a hard question to answer because there’s always “What are the cool kids doing?” As I have gotten older, I’ve gotten more pragmatic, and I’m looking at social media lot more as a performance channel than trying to do anything cool. At the end of the day, you can do a lot of cool things that will help with branding, and that would be fantastic, and that’s what I’m going to focus on as well. But the question is also about the dollars. Conversion, and how do I use social for conversion. What does that holy trinity of organic, earned, and paid? I still see brands talking about not really focusing on paid, [then] I’m like, you’re really not doing social media, you’re really not.
Morejon: Oh, yes. My show, Prove It Matters, where you have two minutes to debate me on anything. So basically, come on, talk about your product, or anything really that you want, and you get two minutes to debate me.
Thanks for sitting down with us!
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