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How to use major events to market your products and services.

During big events like Valentine’s Day, Christmas or the Olympics, many companies get busy planning and designing the right campaign to get more leads and increase their sales. Marketers in particular use social media and hashtags to join in the conversation about such major events and promote for their clients without having to pay lots of money on advertisements.  But with many competitors taking over the social media platforms and stealing all the light, what can you do to ensure a successful marketing campaign? Here are some tips and tricks to get your started:

Be selective: Avoid hijacking events that are not related to your business. Think about it this way, do you really want to see a steak advert in a vegan festival? Always make sure you have at least one basic connection with the event. For example, if you’re running a restaurant that serves special meals for people on a gluten-free diet, it’s ok to advertise for it during the coeliac disease awareness week and use this event for increased traffic.

Be fast, genuine and prepared: The best example of this is Oreo’s timely advert during the Super Bowl blackout in 2013. When the lights went out, the clever marketing team was prepared to seize the opportunity and immediately tweeted: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark”. The tweet was re-tweeted more than 16,000 times and was even more successful than their official ad for the Super Bowl!

A valuable lesson to learn from this is to avoid the commercial talk and cheap marketing ads. Be as close as you can to what’s going on during the event and let your followers feel that your ad is coming out of the heart of their interests and opinions. Remember, a smart and quick reaction to something that is currently happening may be worth way more than a planned advert you’ve paid a fortune on!

Be clever and funny: Find your own spirit and language but at the same time emphasise on the brand values and limits. Design your ad in a way that is natural to the brand but with a small twist that reflects what’s currently going on and makes audience smile and talk about it. An example of this is the Polo ad during a snowy day in 2009. A JWT client used Polo snow stamp to create a perfect replica of the iconic white mint in the thick snow. A smart and timely ad that immediately became part of the conversation and increased the company’s profit.

Don’t become the joke: There are many times that big brands made poor decisions and became the joke while trying to ride the wave of an event. An example of this is KFC ad in 2012 that urges Thais to hurry home and monitor earthquake news with a bucket of KFC chicken. The famous fast food chain eventually had to apologise to their audience and delete the Ad. A lesson to learn is always be sensible and considerate. Follow the common sense of your target audience not only what makes sense to your brand.

Finally, be careful and always follow the legal guidelines when trying to jump on popular events that have their own trademarks like the “World Cup” or the “Olympics”. Such events have a strict list of copyrights and you are likely to end up stuck in a lawsuit for mentioning any small detail about them. An example of this is what happened to the travel company “Decolar.com” in 2014. During the World Cup, the company started its “Viva O Mundial” campaign to promote for special travel packages to Brazilian cities. FIFA accused the company of misappropriation FIFA’s rights by using the World Cup synonym “Mundial” and the company was ordered to cease and desist immediately.

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