Moment marketing: why being reactive is the way forward

January 5, 2017 Mark Haddon


Making the most of every spare penny looks set to be critical this coming year. So how can marketers make the most of their budget? One way could be to become Moment marketers, and embrace agility and reactivity.  

A recent survey conducted by measurement company Neilsen, found UK ad campaigns reached their target just 47% of the time. With Neilson proposing that “marketers think they can just apply traditional marketing to digital”. If that’s true, then digital channels can offer far greater opportunities for those who are willing to listen and adapt. Now is the perfect time to set aside traditional assumptions and embrace the moment.

Thinking across-channels is imperative. Data recently released in the UK shows how twitter users reacted to the biggest moments on UK television in 2016. Sporting events and election results were among the most popular. Betting companies, reactive to the ebbs and flows of the market, made the most of these cross-channel moments. Responsive odds, clips of sporting moments, and humour proved popular on social networks. But how did other brands react across the same marketing channels?

Believe or not, in the UK at least, the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest was the most tweeted about one-off entertainment broadcast. An astounding 1.6 million tweets were posted about the show! For the canny marketer, this was a moment not to be missed. Brands including Innocent, Cadbury’s, and Tesco, made sure they were part of the Eurovision conversation by engaging with followers on Twitter.

However, it is imperative that a brand aligns itself with the right type of tv programme or craze to have an impact.  For example: Back to the Future day. The former fictional, now sadly historic date that cult 1989 film Back to the Future II journeyed to. Eager to get onboard this cultural bandwagon, companies as wide ranging as Oreo and KLM jumped on. Yet, the true winners of that day were the brands that were mentioned in the film, Pepsi, USA Today and Nike. Nike in particular, did very well from the day. The company produced a limited number of futuristic sneakers featured in the film; giving away the profit to charity. By planning ahead and being reactive to the occasion Nike scored a hit.

Good practice is key to being responsive. It’s no good being late to the party. James Briscoe, managing director of Unique Digital, states that the key to good Moment marketing is to be prepared and have premade, “key messages, videos, graphics and other appropriate content [that] can then be adapted in real-time”. Yes, it’s impossible to prepare for everything, but a smart marketer should keep track of what’s trending and look ahead. Sporting events are obvious but spread your wings further and keep an eye on the many other events that are scheduled. Pushing red wellington boots? Then link to the latest Paddington Bear movie.  Want to highlight the Fairtrade aspect of your product? Then push it during Fairtrade fortnight. Better still why not use a product like BannerFlow to adapt display ad campaigns in real-time? Go across channels, rather than limit yourself to social media.

One of our favourite examples of reactive marketing has to be by airline Norwegian. It’s ‘Brad is single’ campaign went viral across the world. Both offline and online, the airline plugged newly launched LA routes by exploiting the divorce of über couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Brangelina – for those in the know. Its simple white text message embossed on a Norwegian red background worked a treat. “It created a potential reach on social media of 54 million people and another 50 million via bloggers, so we reached more than 100 million people in three days across the globe based on three ads. It’s crazy”, remarked vice-president of marketing, Stine Steffensen Børke. Crazy indeed.

But a word of warning. Moment marketing done poorly can misfire, and affect an audiences’ opinion of a brand. From ill-thought through hashtags (we’re looking at you #Susanalbumparty), to insulting customers. The latest example of bad reactive marketing was a misjudged tweet by American confectionary chain Cinnabon. Responding to the recent death of Carrie Fisher, it paid tribute by promoting the brands cinnamon buns. A tweetstorm followed as users declared the ad opportunistic and distasteful. Responsive yes, too soon, and tacky, definitely.   


Three points to remember when being a Moment marketer:

1. Keep a watch on social media. Whilst most news will pass without any notice, it’s vital to stay aware of potential marketing opportunities as they arise. It could be a fantastic captivating social media moment or a cross-channel opportunity, like the final of a talent show. Remember to check the calendar and be prepared!

2. Keep your message concise and easy to understand. Don’t go off-brand. Be relevant to your customers, and what your product is all about. US detergent brand Tide had the right idea in 2015.

3. Seek to entertain; most people want to laugh. Reactive marketing goes hand-in-hand with humour. Think about some of the best examples you’ve seen. Specsavers’ response to Uruguayan footballer Luiz Suarez biting off an Italian player's ear is priceless (and works brilliantly).


There you have it: Moment marketing that's agile and reactive.

And remember it’s not just about being responding to the world around you on social media either. With BannerFlow you can update your display ad campaigns in real-time. Use it to create dynamic display campaigns that respond and connect with your audience online.     

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