When brands play in social, everybody wins. As we’ve seen with Oreo, brand-to-brand interactions can open the flood gates to a realm of dynamic engagement.
While still a relatively new concept, real-time marketing has reached a tipping point in recent months. As brands vie to stay relevant in their consumers’ everyday lives, the market has also become saturated with companies fighting to fit into culture.
But in a world where every brand wants a piece of the real-time conversation, it’s important to know when to jump in and when not to. As 360i President Sarah Hofstetter pointed out in a recent Ad Age article, “Real-time marketing may not be right for every brand. Even for brands that have the strategy and structures in place to warrant it, not every major cultural moment deserves a real-time response.”
If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet in the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably heard of a little something called Scope Bacon – an April Fools’ joke created by Procter & Gamble to promote the fake launch of Scope’s newest bacon flavored mouthwash. Premiered a week before April Fools’, the video for Scope Bacon made the rounds on the late night talk show circuit, pulling in over 3 million views on YouTube thus far.
The Internet was abuzz with bacon – even more so than usual – and the Oscar Mayer team at 360i saw an opportunity. With bacon equity already established, the nature of the conversation was already aligned with our client’s voice and the product. It all began with a simple response:
— Oscar Mayer (@oscarmayer) March 29, 2013
The conversation unfolded into a full-on friendly banter between Scope and Oscar Mayer. Since live-tweeting the Academy Awards earlier this year, we knew that it would require tight collaboration between 360i and the Oscar Mayer brand team to make the interaction a success.
Followers and fans erupted with positive feedback, and when Scope revealed it all to be a joke, the audience took it in good spirits (even if they were somewhat disappointed that they’d never have bacony-fresh breath):
— Eric Mittenthal (@MeatVP) April 2, 2013
— ♡ taylor ♡ (@makeupyourworld) April 1, 2013
Ultimately, both brands were able to benefit from the conversation: Scope lent Oscar Mayer equity and buzz, and Oscar Mayer shared its expertise and legitimacy in the bacon space with Scope mouthwash.
The overlap between bacon and mouthwash turned out to be a joke, but the work and strategic thinking behind the prank was nothing to laugh at. Here are some takeaways for marketers looking to jump into brand-to-brand conversations.
- Be nimble: By recognizing an opportunity and quickly putting together a plan, Oscar Mayer was able to capitalize on a fleeting situation. When a brand works to define a social tone of voice, being a good listener is a vital part of being a good communicator. With strong social listening comes the ability to react dynamically to relevant conversations and cultural events.
- Be authentic: To be successful with real-time brand-to-brand conversations, it’s important to be choosy and to identify the right opportunities for your brand and audience. Carefully select moments that are right for your brand and that will resonate with the community.
- Be prepared: While real-time conversations can’t always be planned for, having the right team and process in place makes all the difference. Brands are advised to create a strong social foundation before jumping into real-time marketing—which often takes upfront planning.
Mitchell Geller, Content Manager at 360i, co-authored this post.