By Dari Mullins, Senior Account Manager

As the capacity of digital devices continues to increase and the craving for new, current, engaging content from consumers rises – Brands have to act quickly to stay ahead of the emerging trends.

Real-time adverting has been around for several years, but it’s popularity continues to grow on Social Media. New engaging content is expected from advertising to customer service – consumers want content and engagement and they want it NOW.

Real-time advertising burst on the scene during the blackout of the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, LA.

During the third quarter the lights went out and all activity stopped at the Superdome – Oreo quickly responded with tweet “you can still dunk in the dark”. The ad immediately went viral and Oreo’s social media channels gained thousands of new followers. Oreo had actually begun a real-time posting campaign which ran for 100 days and involved posting of real-time responses to events happening in the news.


The latest real-time advertising campaign by Under Armor #BreaktheGame features Stephen Curry and centers around his 3 point shots. Curry’s popularity and success has propelled Under Armour into the competitive shoe market and they continue to gain market share. The 3 second ads were to be released on Twitter every time Curry sank a 3 point shot. With Curry’s recent injury the status of the campaign remains in flux. One thing still remains – Under Armour spent a lot of time, energy and resources creating and filming the multiple spots…some of which may not air due to the injury.

With the new changes in Facebook consumers can now axcess brands easier and quicker than ever before resulting in high expectations of the brand. They expect a response in less than an hour and even after hours. If the response isn’t acquired some consumers consider changing brands.

So with higher and higher expectations from the consumer – how should a brand respond when embarking on real- time engagement territory?

  • Be actively engaged on Social Media channels – that seems obvious however many companies still view social media as an ad hoc item. It needs to be prominent in the suite of choices and there needs to be a specific strategy for each channel.
  • Always be looking – Look for opportunities to engage your customer. Be creative and ready to respond to a success, a need and even a mistake. The Oreo ad evolved from an entirely different campaign that was running, however Oreo jumped at the opportunity to respond to a HUGE mishap in a major event and they adapted it to fit the situation.
  • Have a goal – Don’t just engage with the consumer for the sake of engaging- have a stated goal or objective. It doesn’t have to be a huge aspiration or a lengthy list of intentions, but it does need to be a valid reason for the engagement with a stated goal.
  • Be Real – Authenticity, one of the latest buzz words is becoming cliché, however consumers consistently desire credibility and dependability from brands. If you make a mistake – own up to it. If you have a weakness, fix it but don’t hide it. Authenticity goes far with today’s consumer.
  • Always evaluate and re-evaluate – Examine each engagement point and find ways it can be improved upon. What worked, what didn’t, what can be done different to do better? The actual ROI on real-time engagement can be tricky, but evaluation can always improve the ROI, even when it is unmeasurable.
  • Be prepared for anything – When a brand puts something out to the public – it can take many unexpected twists and turns. Always be prepared with a response – if you don’t have one – get one quick! When the UK wanted to name its most recent polar research ship, a staff member suggesting letting the public name the vessel via Social Media. The result was not a scientific, stoic name – instead a journalist suggested a cartoonish name – Boaty McBoatface. That received the most votes – in fact it came in four times higher than the second place finisher. Now a huge dilemma ensues – does the NERC (National Environment Research Council) go with the juvenile name for the $287 million dollar vessel or do they retract the call and go with a more pertinent title. Source: