Flotsam

My name is Keith Byrne. I'm a Creative Director at R/GA. This is my take on random stuff that floats by.

The Oreo Moment, Social Media Command Centers, and the Wonders of Saying Nothing

The Super Bowl ads, as we all know, were a grave, grave disappointment.  

The consensus “winner,” at least among agency folk, was Oreo. Their “real-time” response was rightly praised for being clever, fun and perfectly timed. 

Then came the Oscars, and scores of brands had their own social media command centers, and dreams of their own “Oreo Moment.” 

Well, needless to say, it didn’t always go particularly well. There were cringe-worthy things like these:

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And probably dozens more. 

Of course, it’s easy to lament just how very bad these things are. But, if you’ve ever worked “a social media command center,” you can completely understand how they happened. 

Typically, you have a big TV, a table with clients, a table with agency folk — writers, producers/account folk, social media gurus — and a lawyer, maybe three. 

You all watch it, write something, then get everyone to agree it’s worth posting, then you post it. 

Needless to say, it’s impossibly hard to be authentic, funny, spontaneous and all the things that Twitter does well when you have a room of clients and lawyers peering over your shoulder. 

And because you have clients “co-creating” with you things can go sideways fast, which I’m guessing is what happened here. “Hey guys, how can we work in our network here?”

The correct answer, of course, is well, we can’t, or shouldn’t. 

(Not to mention that you probably don’t really care what your telecommunications has to say about, say, the Oscars. But that’s another issue.) 

Which brings me to two points. 

One. When you set up these command centers, set them up in a way that actually lets creative people be creative. Maybe you separate the writers from the clients and the lawyers. I don’t really know. 

And two, and this is really important. Do the work before the work. 

Yes, spontaneity is important but being spontaneous requires a lot of preparation. 

Have some ideas as to what might happen. Create some comps. Get ready, then break out the best things during the event.

That, and remember, just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. Some things are just better left unsaid.

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