T.O.M. and the Oreo

In 1997 I graduated from college.  Shortly thereafter, I landed my first real job.  I built web sites and interactive CD’s (remember those?) at a small B2B marketing agency in Cleveland, OH*.  It was a crazy place to work.  Not just because half the company smoked in the office and all of the company boozed in quantities that would have made Roger Sterling blush, but because of the manic intensity and sometimes brilliant creative team.

The night before a valuable RFP was due or new boards were needed for a crack-of-dawn meeting or we were just that behind again, it was frenetic.  Commands would explode from the creative director’s fishbowl office, bursting past the silvery evidence of his stress-driven chain smoking.   Copywriters would work and re-work the ideas while the art directors would try to create something awesome.  They would work in whispered fear of their boss, of failing.  And still, the continually impressed with the work that slowly paged out of the printer once the smoke cleared.

When I went through a brief, but intense, addiction to Mad Men, I often thought back to those career-shaping days when I had never really created or been a part of anything big but had that front row seat for the creative process from my side of our beautiful mansion attic office.  Someone at A&E either sat in my seat, or was one of those abused copywriters before upgrading from Word to FinalDraft.

I thought of those days again when I saw this tweet from Oreo during Great Blackout of ’13 on Sunday night.  Creating marketing that works is hard.  Creating marketing that is memorable and remarkable fast is much harder.  Someone, who likely didn’t get too long to celebrate their internet win, had the bright idea to have the team assembled with someone who could actually approve their work.   This was a great nod to the ever-present realities of creative marketing in a corporate environment (17 approvals to tie one’s shoes) and the need to not pass go to collect the $200 (or 15K retweets) today’s social word.

I really hope the folks at 360i and Oreo who pulled this off had a much less stressful (and smokey) Sunday than those nights in my now distant memory.  But even if their night was just as sucktastic, it was worth it.  In mear minutes they created remarkable and memorable marketing and ruined every marketers’ 2014 Super Bowl Sunday to boot.

* My job title at this firm was Technical Operations Manager, or T.O.M. for short.  Yeah, we thought that was pretty funny.

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