There’s something to be said for moving quickly in the marketing ecosystem. Trends tend to die quickly and ideas become increasingly less relevant with each passing hour. When a topic begins trending or a cultural moment unfolds, brand’s start to panic, those who remain calm and act diligently are able to capitalize. This strategy isn’t new by any means, think back to 2013 (if you can remember that far back) and Oreo’s Tweet that capitalized on the 32 minute Super Bowl XLVII delay that led to their industry-renowned “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” ad.
Below we will take a look at some of the brands who have made the most of trending topics and cultural moments, making a lasting impression and reaching millions of consumers in the meantime.
Creating content that truly stands out in a sea of advertising and marketing has become increasingly difficult as the past year shifted the majority of these activities online. The competition to create kick-ass engaging content is greater than ever, and to top it off marketers have around 8 seconds to grasp the attention of consumers. For brands, being able to cut through the clutter and start a conversation is a must, and doing so by leveraging trending topics or cultural moments in a creative, relevant and timely manner is key.
Acting on a trending topic or cultural moment sounds a lot easier than it is. With a typical proposal and approval process taking anywhere from one to five months, brands may face timing obstacles when it comes to this type of marketing. The solution to this? Being able to spot a trend, act quickly, and simplify (or expedite) the approval process to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity or relevance of the moment.
Most recently, the rise of TikTok and video content has created quicker access to content that inspires these types of timely ads and marketing campaigns. While the platform initially skewed toward a younger audience it’s becoming clear that a large customer base takes up residence on the app, hence all the brands jumping to make their presence known.
That being said, TikTok is not the only place where we are seeing brands capitalizing on trending topics and cultural moments. We’ve seen it with TV shows, viral YouTube clips, sporting events, and even event snafus (think Fyre Festival). While there is no way to guarantee the virality of a piece of content there are certainly steps a brand can take to look at the content from a consumer perspective and assess how the content may perform in the marketplace. Some simple questions to ask yourself include: will this content engage your audience to comment? Is this content exceptionally shareable? Will our audience feel comfortable sharing this content with others?
Now that we’ve covered all of that let’s take a look at brands who have been able to capitalize on these types of trends and moments and done it well:
Chevrolet is one of the few carmakers that have made their presence on TikTok known, currently sporting about 180K+ followers and nearly 1 million likes on the platform. The brand is bullish on connecting with a younger demographic who may just be reaching car purchasing age. Wanting to connect further with that younger demographic the brand partnered with hip-hop singer Breland to create a timely ad. They created a reworked version of his song “My Truck,” complete with a video that features its Silverado full-size pickup truck and lyrics that mention the Chevy Trucks lineup.
The TikTok video now sits at more than 76 million+ views, demonstrating the reach of TikTok and the magnitude of virality on the app. This campaign is solely responsible for the brand’s quick rise on the platform.
This approach worked well for Chevrolet because the Gen Z audience they were targeting connected with the genre of music, artist, and platform on which they chose to activate. Breland’s sound is similar to that of Lil Nas x, who’s hit “Old Town Road” was popular last year, making the hype around it even bigger. As more brands look to launch on TikTok this case study will serve as a prime example of how to do so.
Game of Thrones is without a doubt one of the most popular shows at the moment, which means any small error has the potential to be caught by millions of viewers. So, it’s not surprising that when a Starbucks cup was spotted in a dinner scene, the internet went crazy. While all eyes and ears were watching and laughing at the show’s error, Adobe used the moment to showcase some of their new, reality-melting AI technologies powering its products. Using a feature called Content Aware Fill in After Effects, the company was able to delete the cup from the episode and add some shadowy background in its place.
The task which probably took Adobe employees all of minutes was the perfect opportunity for them to capitalize on a popular trending moment and show what their products can do. The speed at which Adobe was able to get this out was really what made them stand out in the moment.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade
Most recently a video of Rod Ponton, a Texas lawyer, who found himself transformed into a cat during a live Zoom court hearing, went viral. Immediately, Mike’s Hard Lemonade jumped on the moment with a mix of paid and organic placements. The result was “unreleased footage” from the virtual court hearing where Ponton is shown alone on Zoom, struggling to fix the problem. He still hasn’t managed to turn off the filter, which makes him look like a kitten. The lawyer eventually gives up and grabs a drink, and then the tagline, “A hard day calls for a hard lemonade” flashes on the screen.
The video now has over 10,000+ views across platforms and serves as a great example of a brand jumping on the opportunity to utilize an overnight sensation (an influencer of sorts) to their advantage in a fun, playful, and timely way.
In this case it worked well for Mike’s Hard Lemonade because those who had seen the original lawyer video were likely in the 21+ age range, the legal age to consume the product. The brand was able to position the product to their ideal demographic in a way that would grab their attention and play off the hilarity of the initial video. Not to mention Ponton was willing and excited to participate.
One of the biggest examples we’ve seen of a brand capitalizing on a trending topic this year was when TikTok user Nathan Apodaca shot to viral fame for his video skateboarding while drinking Ocean Spray and singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
The video which now sits at around 80.4M+ views not only shot Apodaca to instant fame but saw a huge response with millions of users replicating the video, juice and all. Apodaca’s video made such an impact on Ocean Spray that the brand purchased him a truck to replace the one that had broken prior to filming his viral video.
This is one of the best examples we’ve seen to date. The reason this worked so well for Ocean Spray was because the video was inherently simple, Apocada was rolling with the punches of life and decided to make a TikTok. Within 36-hours or the video being posted Ocean Spray had jumped on the opportunity to send Apocada a new car and keep the moment alive.
The Covid-19 pandemic postponed millions of weddings around the world. With couples feeling down about this obstacle, beer-brand Busch wanted to jump in to help. Busch is transforming two farms that grow the grains used in its beer into wedding venues. In July the brand will give three couples the chance to exchange their vows at these one-of-a-kind locations. In addition, the brand will provide wedding planners, cover the cost of catering and entertainment, as well as supplying the beer.
Busch saw a hardship among their customer base and worked quickly to create a meaningful solution that brought genuine relief. Busch is known to be a wedding staple and they wanted to give back to their community by providing a beautiful venue and easing the stresses of wedding preparation for a few couples. Keep your eyes peeled for these weddings taking place summer 2021.
Capitalizing on trending topics and cultural moments can be tricky, but when done right it can make a lasting impact on your brand and consumers. Let us help you make magic, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to work together.