How To Avoid Royal Brand Embarrassment
Content marketing is all about being timely and relevant. By becoming part of an on-going conversation and contributing engaging insights, you position yourself as a trustworthy and credible source. Real time, last minute innovation can foster unbelievable brand love – remember the inspired “you can still dip in the dark” message from Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout? So does everybody else. Because it was entirely of the moment, people didn’t feel they were simply being fed a brand message; rather, the impression was that consumers and brand alike were in the same boat.
Unfortunately, there are some companies who, in their eagerness to stay topical, forget about little things like “discretion” and “good taste”. This has never been more clearly demonstrated than it was in the lead-up to the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge – or, as you might be more likely to know, him, #RoyalBaby.
Royal Brand Blunders
Evidently spurred on by the social success of last year’s Jubilee and Olympics, a slew of organisations felt that the royal birth was another opportunity to tap into national pride and draw a little focus to their own products. However, the majority of these products lacked even a tangential connection to babies, and in some cases, were entirely unsuitable; offenders included Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Hostess Snacks and Oreo (a rare misstep for the socially astute cookie).
One digital promotion with at least vague relevance came from Pampers, while another, with more questionable taste, came in the form of “Geordie Shore” branded bibs.
Judging how people will react to your campaign before it launches can be tricky – especially against a ticking clock. Marketers often have no idea if their ideas are going to be deemed entertaining or inappropriate, but every now and then that risk pays off.
One company which was counting on a risqué reception was the German lingerie retailer Blush, which latched onto the scandalous story of whistle blower Edward Snowden for a series of ads which ran with the tagline “Dear Edward Snowden, there’s still a lot to uncover.” Tasteful? Not on your life. But that wasn’t the result the company was shooting for with this quick-draw campaign. They wanted attention, and they got it.
Another, considerably more surprising brand which recently sacrificed a good portion of its credibility in the name of social shares was the American fast food chain Chipotle – its official Twitter account was supposedly hacked, but it turned out to be nothing but a bizarre publicity stunt. Tech blogger Alexia Tsotsis responded by calling for somebody to hack Chipotle’s account for real as punishment for the pointless prank.
Instantaneous marketing remains a hazardous game. While one punt may cultivate a newfound respect or admiration for your brand, another can backfire hideously. The key is to get to know your consumer base, in order to refine your understanding of what they want to see. A national event such as the birth of our future monarch can be terribly exciting, but if you can’t find a way to engage in a meaningful way, leave it well alone.