This is just one of many quick-thinking ads that try to tie in with current events during the World Cup. Some can be very profitable and can add to the reputation of a company. Others, like the KLM Tweet, can be damaging. Advertisers have to walk a thin line, but recent World Cup ads show how they can capitalize on the mood without offending millions of fans.
What are the benefits and risks of this topical marketing?
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing, both by businesses and individuals. Its real-time, interactive, and – often – user-generated content has made it a popular medium. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have massive audiences. In 2013, Facebook’s 1.23 billion active accounts were followed by Twitter’s 255 million (78% accessed via mobile devices), as well as newer platforms like Vine and Instagram.
Social media is a great channel for advertisers because it’s “fresh” and “in-the-moment”. Funny comments on World Cup incidents are perfect for content that will be shared quickly.
What are the potential benefits and pitfalls associated with this type of marketing?
The relatively low costs of the internet and social media compared to television advertising or print ads are one of the most obvious advantages. The second benefit is the speed or immediate response. These advertising responses can be sent out in minutes after a match or incident occurs if they are used properly. Third, football and the World Cup are emotionally engaging, and this type of advertisement is likely to be noticed and passed on from one user to another.
There are some potential pitfalls with this type of social media topical advertising. These adverts are often humorous. Although the World Cup is a huge event with a large possible audience, humor is culturally specific. Topical ads and humor are not always forms of advertising that are suitable for global audiences.
Put, cultural differences may prevent these messages from being misunderstood. Topical advertising is only effective with people who know about the topic.
Both topical and funny ads have the potential to offend at least a portion of the audience. An advertisement that makes fun of the Suarez scandal might be amusing to some, but it might offend Uruguayan customers and fans.
You may also be off the mark. What may be funny to someone else might not be for another. KLM’s advert elicited mixed reactions: Was it funny or just offensive and poor sportsmanship? Opinions were divided. Although KLM removed the ad, it is still being circulated, possibly because of this.
These approaches are low-cost and can engage audiences, provoking positive or negative reactions. These approaches may be a clever way to seize the moment. They may also cause negative reactions in some parts of the market. And because they spread so quickly, if something goes wrong, it is difficult to stop them.