Advertising on a shoestring
How you can be a marketing genius without breaking the bank.
3 minute read
Good advertising slots can come at a hefty price. This year a single 30-second slot in the Super Bowl cost upwards of $9 million, with brands like Google an Amazon spending $23.5 million on their Super Bowl ads1. However over the last decade, some of the most iconic marketing moves we’ve seen have cost the brands behind them nothing. Let’s look back at some brand examples and see what we can learn from them.
Is the hashtag #NuggsForCarter familiar at all? In 2017, a teenager in the US named Carter Wilkerson took to Twitter to ask Wendy’s how many retweets he needed to win 365 days' worth of free nuggets. Wendy’s responded and before you knew it, Cater had 3.6 million retweets2. That is a lot of Wendy’s Twitter mentions, and it didn’t cost the brand a cent.
The takeaway: Creating an online persona for your brand is a great way to build brand loyalty. And if you're clever about it and your interactions get noticed, you can end up reaching huge audiences.
“You might’ve thought the [Starbucks] barista just had trouble spelling the name Lucy, but this actually a clever marketing move.”
Everyone is familiar with what happens when you order Starbucks. You order your coffee, give the barista your name and wait for them to inevitably spell it in the most bizarre way possible. You might’ve thought the barista just had trouble spelling the name Lucy, but this actually a clever marketing move by Starbucks. Because when you get your coffee and see how your name is spelt, you probably take a photo of it and either send it to friends – or better yet – post it online. Along with millions of other customers. Free, authentic marketing. Done.
The takeaway: Right now when consumers are hyper aware of lack of authenticity in marketing, being able to get them to voluntarily post your product without asking is a huge win.
In 2013 during the second half of the Superbowl, there was a 34-minute blackout at the stadium. Oreo jumped on the opportunity fast and reaped the rewards. The brand tweeted a poster showing a dimly lit Oreo with the words “You can still dunk in the dark”. Audiences who were already eager to engage in all of the buzz around the blackout, engaged heavily with Oreo’s ad, commenting on and sharing it3.
The takeaway: The easiest way to get engagement is by taking advantage of viral moments and joining a conversation that everyone is already voluntarily taking part in.
Have you noticed you’ve never seen a Zara TV ad, poster or Instagram pop-up? The brand doesn’t do any traditional marketing and instead uses other tactics like influencer endorsements. Not only do these endorsements give them a greater ability to reach the correct audiences more directly, but they take advantage of the pre-existing control that these influencers have on their followers. Although they still require payment negotiation, factors such as low production cost and high engagement mean infleuencer collaborations tend to be a smart financial move for businesses4.
The takeaway: Influencer endorsements are a way to reach your target audience more directly through voices they already trust.
So if you don’t have a spare $23.5 million sitting around to buy a Super Bowl slot, remember these brands. Keep creativity at the forefront and you could end up with one of your own magic marketing moments.