Friday, 27 November 2009

Capitalising on the Conversation - Paddy Power, Thierry Henry, Jedward, AnyJunk and vacuum cleaners

Driving Conversation is a key part of social marketing, but (for those who can move fast enough) there are also opportunities to piggyback existing Conversation to amplify a message that may otherwise be unlikely to break through.

Jedward's success on X Factor, which saw them enhance audiences for the TV show as well as dominate Twitter Trending Topics for weeks, has driven their advertiser appeal. AnyJunk have created significant publicity for the AnyJunk rubbish clearance services, by jumping on the Jedward bandwagon and creating a YouTube film with Jedward lookalikes:

But this is small fry compared to the potential revenue the twins could generate through official endorsement deals - Mark Borkowski quotes Max Clifford as saying the twins could easily make £2m a year as brands seek to harness the twins' 'viral' success.

However, the twins are not the only Irish Twitter topic that has dominated Conversation over the last couple of weeks, the Thierry Henry / Ireland football controversy still rages on too (after France denied Ireland a place in the World Cup in controversial circumstances.)

A 'Hand Of Gaul' online game was quickly created, essentially to promote a petition that urged FIFA to sanction a replay:

Hand Of Gaul online game'Hand Of Gaul' online game (click for larger image)

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power are also capitalising on the Conversation around the 'Hand Of Gaul.' Firstly Paddy Power refunded '€110,000 to all those who backed Ireland to qualify for next years Finals' and then 'refunded €140,000' that was placed on the second France v Ireland qualification game. [Paddy Power blog]

And Paddy Power have gone even further by placing a tactical ad at Dublin airport:

Paddy Power Dublin airport Thierry Henry ad (click for larger image)

The strapline of the Paddy Power Dublin airport ad being 'Paddy Power welcomes you to Ireland - unless you're called Thierry.'

All tongue in cheek and clever ways of driving buzz by using tactical executions to join in public Conversation. However, events can also fuel Conversation that drives uncomfortable associations for brands, such as the headlines about the 'Lucozade Bombers' this summer - and the Thierry Henry / Ireland controversy could even have detrimental effects on Irish sales for a (previously) well liked vacuum cleaner brand:

Thierry Henry vacuum cleanerThe Sun newspaper mocked up the above image under the headline 'Henry Sucks.' The editorial of the article goes on to say that 'angry workers can't bear to look at the smiley-faced machines following the French striker's cheating' claiming that some have painted out the name, altered the smiling face or are just requesting that they be replaced with different brands. (This article may or may not be true, but it has still succeeded in associating a lovable brand with 'public enemy number one' in Ireland.)

The traditional maxim of 'all publicity is good publicity' therefore doesn't always ring true, especially when brands feature in the Conversation closely associated with terrorists or 'football cheats'......

The speed and scale of the global Conversation now means that brands can't afford to wait until something bubbles up into the mainstream news pages before setting about working out a response strategy. Social Listening tools are essential in helping to identify issues before they scale into the general Conversation, an early warning system that can save time and money in dealing with issues that arise.

Monitoring the Conversation can also enhance marketing by delivering insight that fuels PR strategy / tactical executions / new products etc - and if executed well these can drive further Conversation with the brand reaping the benefits of being involved.

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