By Interactive Strategies
Dec 27, 2013

The Best Real-Time Marketing Examples of 2013

As we close out the year, I thought it would be cool to highlight some of the best examples of “real-time marketing” from what was a very exciting and busy 2013.

First, allow me to define real-time marketing.

Real-time marketing is the participation by brands in the topics, events, and ideas trending among the target audience and/or shifting marketing messages based on data analytics ideally in real-time.

With that said, however, the term “real-time marketing” is losing meaning because many agree that the term “agile marketing” better describes this phenomenon, so I’m going to run with that.

I too believe that the key to all of this is the idea of being agile. It’s a process and I can guarantee agile marketing will be all the more prevalent in 2014 and beyond as smart brands realize that it will be key to staying fresh and at the front of mind for its consumers.

Here are 2013’s best examples of agile marketing:


Most recently, DiGiorno spontaneously tweeted spoofy wordplays during NBC's live broadcast of “The Sound of Music Live!” with gems such as:

• “Pizza” is my favorite “habit” #wordplay #TheSoundOfMusicLive
• Liesel is a pretty name for a girl. Pizzal is a prettier name for a girl. #TheSoundOfMusicLive

…You get the gist.

Yes many of the tweets were a little corny, but the brand’s Twitter handle picked up 4,000 followers in the following 15 or so hours - not to mention the 14,000 retweets.  And while these stats may sound like soft “glamour metrics,” I imagine that many of the retweets and new follows converted to sales because of the low-cost nature of their product - where the purchase decision is quick and often based on who’s top of the mind.


Of course the requisite Oreo Super Bowl blackout example had to make the list. Back in early February, you may remember the New Orleans Super Dome’s power outage. During the outage, Oreo pushed out this simple message across its social channels: “Power out? No problem.” The image attached was the iconic Oreo cookie with copy that read, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This message was simple, cheap, unplanned and… extremely successful. Instagram followers increased from ~2,000 to 3,600, their Facebook photo received over 20K likes, and the  tweet was retweeted over 1,500 times and gained the brand about 8,000 new followers. It just goes to show that your social media program should never sleep. It needs to be ongoing with its head on a swivel to capitalize on such social media layups that no brand should miss.


Agile Marketing goes beyond just social media. Smart marketers know that the best agile marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all - but rather an enhanced relationship with the brand. rakes in revenue based on cross-selling fostered by investment on their site’s development for user experience rather than investments on traditional advertising. They suggest other items based on real-time, market driven, user-specific data. User-tailored strategies like this allow many big brands such as Netflix or Ebay to reap the rewards of the all-powerful word of mouth because of the positive experience their customers enjoy.


Here in DC, we were well aware of the government shutdown. Starbucks tapped into that real-time moment and drove engagement with the #ComeTogether campaign. Starbucks created e-mails, social media content/badges and even purchased newspaper ads which appeared in Friday’s USA TODAY, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. These ads encouraged customers to tear out the ads, sign them as petitions and bring them into Starbucks stores.

This campaign resulted in over a million collected signatures and helped the brand stay relevant and active – making it a very successful agile marketing campaign.

Virgin Holidays

Within minutes after the bill legalizing gay marriage in the company’s native UK was passed, the image below was tweeted and posted to Virgin Holidays’ Facebook and Google+ pages. This on-the-fly, relevant message was received as both sincere and authentic by audiences, and further promoted the company's founder, Richard Branson,  as a top gay marriage supporter. Using the #equalmarriage hashtag, the brand expanded their reach with over 265 retweets and reminded their growing audience that Virgin Holidays is the choice means to get to your honeymoon vacation.

Call it what you want but really, at its core, agile marketing is just marketing. Maybe more evolved, maybe being smarter, trying harder; but it is no trend. Agile marketing will soon be the new standard – not just a series of case-studies. So as the 2013 year ends and we bring in a new year, consider how your brand will be present, relevant, and native in the new year.

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