Campaigns should capitalize on major news events even if they’re not political. That advice came from a panel of digital ad experts speaking at C&E’s CampaignTech West conference in Denver on Friday.
Brian Donahue, founder of the firm CRAFT Media | Digital, pointed to Italian carmaker Fiat, whose U.S. Twitter feed on Sept. 22 tweeted #blessed and a link to another tweet noting that when Pope Francis arrived in D.C. he stepped into a Fiat 500L. While the company has since deleted those tweets, Donahue said they were well timed.
“Timing, audience, emotional trigger points and good, solid strong creative — then you’ve got a pretty good formula” for a digital ad spreading peer-to-peer, he said Sept. 25. “Understand the audience and what their trigger points are.”
While there’s no set formula for making a digital video, meme, tweet or post go viral, there are some ways to help expand reach online, the experts said.
Andrew Abdel-Malik, a media consultant at OnMessage Inc., said campaigns should look at events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl as a chance to enter a newly formed conversation. Nabisco, for instance, was able to do that in 2013 when during the blackout at the Super Bowl in New Orleans Oreo tweeted: “You can still dunk in the dark.”
“You have to look at those big events and capitalize on them pretty quickly,” said Abdel-Malik.
Big moments can also be opportunities for damage control, even if the damage is self-inflicted. To wit, Marco Rubio was being ridiculed online for drinking from a water bottle during his response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2013. He subsequently tweeted a photo of the offending Poland Spring bottle.
Bill Redding, a senior vice president with Revolution Messaging, said campaigns should have a war room set up to capitalize or do damage limitation. Moreover, Redding noted that digital ad efforts don’t have to be as concise as a tweet.
“Sometimes on a complex issue you need to tell that full story and it takes more than 30-seconds,” he said.
Redding noted his firm’s work on a video for Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control group founded by former Congresswman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly. The video shows Kelly easily purchasing a gun with a background check.
“People get force-fed so much stuff. If you can break in and show people why these human beings are passionate about the issue,” it’s more effective,” said Redding.
The video has almost 30,000 views on YouTube. In fact, knowing what’s relevant to the campaign’s or organization’s audience is key, said Stephen Loguidice, national vice president of brand development at BuzzFeed.
“You have to start being known for being relevant to that audience,” Loguidice said. “Having some sort of relevancy with the audience then gets you some traction and the audience starts telling the story for you.”