When Roberto Salas was studying advertising at Webster University’s School of Communications, he dreamed of winning the most prestigious award in international creative communications, a Cannes Lion trophy.
On June 21, 2013 his dream came true. Twice.
Salas —now senior art director of 360i in New York—won a Cannes Silver Lion award for Best Use of Digital Direct Marketing plus a Bronze Lion for Best Viral Advertising. Both awards were earned for one of the most innovative messages in advertising history: Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout Tweet.
Associate professor Sally Howald said, “Roberto is great about sharing his good news with faculty and friends at Webster. He stays in touch like we’re family.”
Salas has been working on multimedia campaigns for global brands and winning awards since he graduated from Webster with a bachelor of arts in Advertising and Marketing Communications in 2006.
“Roberto is passionate about design,” said Howald. “I love the way he constantly challenges himself. He has clear goals and doesn’t give up until he succeeds.”
Fast Reaction to Blackout Scores Big Win for Oreo
When there was a sudden power outage during the third quarter of this year’s Super Bowl, sports commentators fumbled as they tried to fill the space. Salas and the creative team from 360i seized the opportunity to connect with their brand’s audience through social media.
“The timing was perfect to own the moment,” said Salas. “We knew fans would turn to social media to discuss what happened so we had to act fast to make sure Oreo would meet them there with a fun message.”
Within minutes, the team concepted, designed and published a message from Oreo that was hyper-relevant to the unfolding news: “Power out? No problem – you can still dunk in the dark” with an accompanying picture of an Oreo cookie in a dark room.
Winning Accolades and Results for His Client
In addition to the thrill of winning two Cannes Lions, Salas was gratified to achieve impressive results for his client. From a single tweet, the “Dunk in the Dark” image was shared on Twitter and Facebook more than 20,000 times and garnered 525 million earned media impressions—five times the number of people who tuned in to watch the game.
The media also buzzed with favorable reviews of Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet. Wired magazine declared Oreo as the Super Bowl winner, and Adweek ranked the tweet as one of the top five “ads” of the night. All of this was achieved through zero media dollars.
Salas’ success in Cannes is extraordinary, especially considering this year’s competition drew a record 35,765 entries from 92 countries. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. The entries are showcased and judged at the Festival, which is held the third week of June every year in Cannes, France.