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Reactive marketing: ‘never miss a moment’ or give this one a miss?

By 15th August 2018 No Comments

15th August 2018

Reactive marketing: ‘never miss a moment’ or give this one a miss?

Sarah Bowater Account Executive at Edson Evers


The summer of 2018 will be one many of us won’t forget in a hurry.

The year we couldn’t believe our luck with the weather (which we also loved to moan about), the incredible efforts of England in the World Cup and, dare I say it, the long eight weeks of antics at the country’s favourite villa – I’m talking Love Island if you hadn’t guessed already!

Whether or not you’re a lover of hot weather, football or ‘trashy’ TV (I’m a fan, honestly), it’s fair to say, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard someone in the pub, your office or even in a queue at the checkout talking about one of these events. Well, it’s hard not to when everywhere we turn we’re being reminded of them, if it’s not on television, in the magazines, newspapers or pretty much everywhere online.

This rise in reactive marketing over the past few years has contributed heavily to the way in which we consume news; virtually immediately, meaning we never miss a trick, and neither do brands jumping on the ‘popular culture’ bandwagon.

But with reactive marketing comes a very hit or miss approach.

Using the example of ‘the’ event of the summer, here’s just a few of the brands that put their best foot forward (excuse the pun) and those that really missed the mark this World Cup season.

Sponsoring the Fifa World Cup (which is an eye-watering £100 million a year to make it official!) is very often too big of a price tag for brands, but they still want the obvious association that comes with the worldwide tournament, so they need to think of other more subtle ways they can make a link.

A personal favourite of mine was the M&S campaign, which was subtle yet very effective.

Lucky waistcoat strikes again. #itscominghome #comeonengland

A post shared by M&S (@marksandspencer) on

Being the ‘official tailor’ to the England team this year, there was plenty of opportunity to get the brand noticed. With England’s success, they were quick to dub the result down to Gareth Southgate’s ‘lucky waistcoat’.

Mobile brand Huawei also got onboard with M&S, with a stunt to promote its new zoom feature.


Jumping on the ‘It’s Coming Home’ bandwagon, a short video for social media was created to suggest, if people looked closely enough, they could see that Southgate’s waistcoat actually had the famous phrase stitched into it, really playing to the hype surrounding the legendary song.

Alongside these highlights, a strong social media campaign, linked to UK charity Bloodwise, and digital ads outside Wembley led to the overall campaign ‘scoring’ highly – and even resulted in doubling its sales in waistcoats in the process!

On a much smaller scale, IKEA appealed to the masses through its sofa range, highlighting its ability to face different sides of the room – a side for those who love the footie, and one for those who don’t. A real example of a subtle, yet effective reactive marketing approach.

On the other hand, big player Mastercard had to backtrack with its World Cup efforts, as it was poorly received across the board. Trying to incorporate charity into its marketing, Mastercard claimed that for every goal brand ambassadors and star players Neymar and Messi scored, it would provide 10,000 meals to starving children. As much as this is initially a charitable donation and a positive slant on the tournament, it was heavily criticised by both experts and consumers alike, for offering aid to children in need depending on the luck of a player scoring a goal.

When used in the correct way, reactive marketing can really help to boost brand engagement.

It’s important to make sure there is some form of creativity and, more importantly, relevance to the brand and its values before being ‘too’ reactive.

Here at Edson Evers, we’ve also worked reactive marketing into our social media plans during the World Cup season, for example, for home security specialist Yale. A simple image to promote one of its safe’s alongside manager Gareth Southgate proved to be its highest performing tweet of July, which goes to show how impactful reactive marketing can be.

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