Benefiting From Chaos..Lights Out with Oreo at Super Bowl


I work on 20Skaters, ThreeFortyNine, Ontario Startup Train and a few others. My vanity site is

The subtitle of the book Antifragile is “Things That Gain from Disorder. I’m fascinated by that concept and specifically how you can leverage it within the chaos that is new business creation. How can you prepare your business and team to not just be unharmed by large unpredictable events but to benefit from them?

A thread in this book is the concept of optionality and how it, along with risk taking, are the greatest tools you have available. Few of us truly recognize and leverage optionality in the day to day.

Risk taking ain’t gambling, and optionality ain’t lottery tickets.

Last night I witnessed a great example of antifragility in practice in an advertising setting so I wanted to share it. The power went out last night during the Super Bowl. It’s fairly clear we could classify that as an unpredicted event. I don’t think anyone prepared for that scenario, certainly not advertisers.

Within minutes of the power going out, Oreo posted to twitter “Power out? No problem.” along with this image. You can read more about it on the interwebs. Was it anything mind


blowing? Well technically no, it was a reasonably simple image and a post to twitter.  How many brands and marketing teams were prepared to leverage an unpredictable event like this? On the other side, how many were actually injured by this event? The timing of their precisely planned campaigns thrown off by the delay etc.

I say nice work Oreo! Your super bowl advertising left yourself a world of options and allowed you to gain from the disorder that a massive event like this always contains. Who knows what you could of pulled off with this approach and an unpredictable wardrobe malfunction?