This time the Olympics were sensational in so many ways. India has won a record number of medals, gold in the javelin throw was a big and pleasant surprise, men’s hockey has gained ground after 4 decades, women’s hockey has amazed everyone, badminton, wrestling and boxing added to our laurels and PV Sindhu has sent legal notices to over 20 companies for using his images and name disguised as messages and congratulatory messages. Brands include major public and private sector banks, white goods manufacturers and fast-growing consumer goods companies. Sindhu has filed claims of Rs 5 crore from each of the brands!
This isn’t the first time someone has raised objections for being used without consent in instant marketing, but this time around, a handful of top brands have received legal opinions for ‘crossing the line’. Interestingly, at the same Olympics, just days before Sindhu won his medal, weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu’s wish for pizza was cashed with Chanu’s promise of free pizza dominoes for life. However, she was quickly compensated for the use of her name and a separate digital activation contract was negotiated with the weightlifter.
Interestingly, the same Baseline Ventures in 2018, sent notices to food delivery company Swiggy and Freecharge, to celebrate the first century of Indian trial cricketer Prithvi Shaw.
The marketing of the moment is very tempting. It reaches and connects with audiences faster than you might think as it rides the wave that is already high in the eyes of your TG. You don’t spend any money on approval, your media vehicles cost next to nothing, your brand gets noticed, and there is always a possibility that it will go viral. Most marketers see instant marketing as smart, and it really is, until, in a hurry to seize the moment, we lose our balance and stumble on the wrong side. If we walk the path well, thoughtfully and responsibly like Amul, who has grown over decades, gaining stature and respect for ongoing momentary marketing campaigns (few call it topical advertising), without any controversial. In the current context and how it has been done in the past, let’s see what these checks are we can do and what steps we can take to avoid any controversy and legal hassle. The game begins with having a dedicated team trained and oriented to spot or film such moments that can be exploited.
Spot and capture the moment quickly, preferably before someone else has. Such waves, events or opportunities most often rise and die very quickly. Speed and timing are essential. 2013 Oreo Super Bowl ‘You can always dunk in the darktweet is one of the key messages to capture the moment.
Keep your brand and its key proposition at the center of your communication. Don’t just jump on any moment that seems tempting. See if it has (or can be given) a connection to your brand and its key propositions. Pressed to cash in on the moment, most brands stray from their key proposition and seem forced and haphazard. Imagine how out of place Volvo (which stands for safety) would seem to try and participate in a socio-political event like Amul does.
Make selling your main focus while keeping the twist in mind. Remember Godrej nature basket and Manforce condom catch the row of Rahul Bose bananas? They both very cleverly captured the moment, focused precisely on improving their sales.
Do it without the real names, spellings, and pictures and throw it away with smart, smart copy so that you actually avoid any legal challenges raised by people, places or parties involved. This is what made Advertisement for Amul Butter iconic without getting into controversy.
Humor gets the job done faster, effortlessly, because it is one of the most enduring and cherished emotions for all of us. What helps even more is the unpredictable dramatized connection with your brand that leaves the consumer with a smile. Instant marketing by Netflix during the Mumbai monsoon taken people by their imaginations.
Put consumers first in all of your momentary marketing communications. During this pandemic, instant marketing would have been a risky proposition as the chances of getting it wrong were much higher. Burger King Belgium played smart by converting ‘Home of the Whopper’ to ‘Stay at home‘, message on the facade of the store, facing the road.
Play the game when you have the chance. healthy jokes between Spotify and Britannia Have a nice day in June 2020 and hoard the conversation between Kingfisher, Jet Air and Go Air in 2007 near Mumbai airport, take the cake.
Don’t try too hard if your brand doesn’t fit well at some point. Consumers can spot the force a mile away and it would work against your brand. So try to stay authentic and stay real!
Marketing of the moment is one of the oldest forms of conversation that brands have engaged their TG with for decades and centuries in various forms under various names, using various mediums available. It evolves, changes shape, mediums and names too, but it’s here to stay.
The author is the Managing Director of Apppl Combine. The opinions expressed are personal.