"The first thing we did was throw a kids party in the conference room and had kids of all ages talk about their birthdays and the iconic nature of the birthday and the iconic nature of Oreos," Mann said. "We felt we wanted to bring it to everyone – and that meant it wasn't television. We wanted a birthday party in every grocery store in America, so we came up with the idea of the 'Daily Twist.'"
That concept stressed listening to consumers via Facebook and Twitter and finding a way to relate to whatever was going on with them every day. While politics was suggested as one way Oreo could try to relate to the audience, it was quickly decided that a brand that wanted to stress insouciance and innocence probably shouldn't go there. "Aside from steering clear of politics, we learned to manage slow slow news days, but we set out to be simple," Mann said.
The company eventually set up a war room to figure out what was meaningful to its followers -- who include some 32 million individuals on Facebook and about 80,000 on Twitter.
Part of the reason of Oreo's success with the tweet had to do with its focus on paid media as well as earned media.
Towards the end of their conversation, Wiener referenced a statistic mentioned earlier in the day by Ann Lewnes, CMO of Adobe, who told attendees that marketers still only spend a quarter of their budget on digital advertising. (By contrast, she said Adobe spends close to three-quarters of its marketing on interactive, though that is where the software company's business is largely focused, unlike a snack brand that has to move products off store shelves.)
"You can't just listen to media mix modeling. There's not enough info, even with all the data we have these days," Mann said, declining to say what Oreo's digital ad allocation is. "You have to trust your gut. My kids are 20 and 17 and they said they never click on an ad. That's something that's stayed with me and so we always want to find other ways of communicating with consumers. We're trying to get better at it. Ultimately, if you want to see higher digital budgets, you have show what works. Success breeds success and drives budgets."