Post Mar. 17
Don’t laugh. You know you saw it coming. In fact, somebody somewhere no doubt, has a team of R&D guys working round the clock on a product just like this. MEAN MA-SHEEN energy drink may be fictional, for the moment, but it makes a point: culture is creating opportunity for brands to connect with consumers on a new level.
Modern marketing is inextricably connected to culture, and this emerging style of marketing is a force that’s creating bold new opportunities for daring and adaptive marketers who are willing to make the most of them. Call it what you like. “In-the-Moment Marketing.” “Opportunistic Marketing” or “Real-Time Marketing.” Make no mistake, it’s marketing that has a hairpin trigger and is not for everyone.
That said, marketers who understand the immediacy of new media are stepping up to seize the moment. Take the “United Breaks Guitars” video created by an unknown Canadian singer songwriter named Dave Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell. While traveling to a gig in Halifax, United Airlines baggage handlers seriously damaged Mr. Carroll’s cherished Taylor guitar, and United refused to make good on it. Instead of just giving up in frustration after being ignored, the musician created a viral video that took the world by storm. Dave and his band created a fun, slightly scathing song called, “United breaks guitars.” In it, Dave recounts the story of watching handlers from the plane window tossing his prized possession across the tarmac. The rest of the song describes how Dave pursued United to make good on their shoddy customer service to no avail. In four days, the song received over a million views on YouTube and had over 19,000 blog mentions.
At one point, United tried to stem the tide of support for Carroll once the song was released, but it was too late. That sat on their hands for too long. The cat was out of the guitar bag, and Dave got his revenge in a most creative way. Noticing the enormous attention the video and the story was attracting, Taylor Guitar CEO, Bob Taylor, joined the story with some viral marketing of his own. He created a YouTube video extending an offer to any guitar player who may have had his or her guitar destroyed in a similar fashion. If your guitar was broken, Taylor’s world-class technicians would fix it for you! Taylor viral videos also provided guitar owners with good advice on how to protect a guitar while traveling. The video generated a half million users. What great PR, right? What a brilliant marketing tactic from one of the world’s most respected guitar companies. Talk about being responsive and opportunistic. But there’s more. Calton guitar cases saw what was going on and reached out to Dave Carroll to launch the Dave Carroll signature guitar case. Bingo. A perfect new product opportunity.
These are the types of breakthrough marketing concepts that aren’t conceived in a boardroom. They’re developed by watching, listening and staying plugged in to what’s going on in the world and knowing where your brand fits in it. Here’s one last example. Brand Benson Hyundai of South Brunswick, New Jersey makes it common practice to include references to headline-grabbing celebrities or current media events to help the dealership move cars. For instance, provocative radio commercials promoted the fact that dealership owner and former New York Giant, Brad Benson promised a free set of wheels to a controversial Florida pastor if he didn’t burn a Koran on 9/11 as he threatened to do. Lo and behold, the pastor’s church contacted Brad Benson to put a claim in on the free $14,200 car(reports are that he donated it to charity). The important part here is that Benson Hyundai outsold everybody!
Are you paying attention to hot topics within the media, cultural upticks and leveraging them in your favor through original and timely marketing, advertising or promotional ideas? You might want to consider it. It could be the juice that can make your marketing more relevant and worthy of being talked about, not to mention the difference between losing and WINNING!