Tactical advertising: The secret of big strategy today lies in clever tactics

Richard Barrett and Robert Hocking
Initials Marketing

In the US in the 1980s, an ad run on three television networks would reach 80% of consumers. Today some segments don't even consume media on TV. A Newsweek study showed the average digital native cycles through 27 media outlets every non-working hour.

So it is not surprising that more companies are looking to deploy marketing's special forces to deliver a tactical, real-time response that cuts through in a multi-screen world. Today's restless consumer is a moving target, constantly searching for the next great thing. Context and need-state vary widely by audience, so how can we rely on anything but flexible tactics to really reach them effectively?

'You can still dunk in the dark', Oreo's quick-witted tweet in response to the lights literally going out, took the plaudits at last year's Super Bowl. It was short, sharp, and clever – and it achieved unprecedented cut-through in one of the noisiest marketing arenas. But it's not an approach that will be found in any marketing play book. Oreo's opportunism and bravery highlighted how a single, smart execution can win the day over carefully crafted commercials months in the making.