Some topline numbers: mobile accounted for 41% of ad revenue, at Facebook, rising from 30% in the last quarter, and revenue itself grew by 53% If you’re looking for comparisons to last year on the mobile figure, well, there ain’t none. That’s how insignificant mobile was to the company a year ago.
OK, but what I really want to rant about is the #royalbaby. Well, not the baby, actually, he looked very sweet. But what I really need to rant about is #BadAdTweetsAboutTheRoyalBaby.
People, let’s have our first-ever Social Media Insider intervention, focusing on RTMA, or that devastating disease called Real-Time-Marketing Addiction. Ever since the Super Bowl, some brands just can’t stop themselves from tweeting during big events. While for some brands, this works out, let’s face it: Most people have no more interest in hearing what you have to say about the #royalbaby than they do in reading the fine print in your annual report.
This time around -- since we all knew the #royalbaby was coming -- the whole sorry state of affairs looked even worse. Advertisers actually had time to prepare. And, sadly, many, many advertisers still couldn’t get it right. Some outtakes:
From Charmin: “Get the throne ready! There's a new cub in the Royal family.” Picture: a Union Jack, a family crest, and a gold potty-training seat. Oy.
From Delta: “It’s a boy! Welcome, Prince of Cambridge. We can’t wait to show you the world.” Picture: A baby gazing up at a mobile made up of airplanes, and a crown. As if Prince George, will ever, ever fly commercial.
From Pizza Hut, winner of the award for blatant, entirely inexplicable tie-ins: “Introducing our very own royal #bundleofjoy: free side or dessert to any medium or large pizza through 7/25. Code: ROYALOFFER
Which doesn’t mean that every real-time marketer performed badly. Oreo’s, featuring a baby bottle full of milk (natch), and an Oreo, with the tag, “Long Live the Creme,” was, at least, playful. And I think we can also give a tip of the hat to @Hostess_Snacks’, which tweeted: “This summer, a precious little bundle of sweetness was born. And Will and Kate also had their baby. …” The tweet really turned on the picture, a tongue-in-cheek depiction of a man lovingly holding a special little bundle in a blanket: a Twinkie.
If I had to define what divided tweets that worked from tweets that didn’t, mostly, ones that could make some real-world connection to babies fared better than others. A Coke ad declaring it “Time for a Royal Celebration,” featuring two Coke bottles retooled to say “Wills” and “Kate” was entirely off-the-mark; a Johnson & Johnson Facebook ad featuring a baby in bath tub, with a “crown” of soap bubbles on the baby’s head seemed in the proper spirit of celebrating not just the little prince, but babies in general.
However, there’s still something wrong with this whole trend. I know advertisers want to be relevant, and that it’s difficult to break through the clutter, but this whole obsession with piggybacking on current events, no matter what, smacks of something marketers should assiduously avoid: desperation.
There are plenty of good uses for real-time marketing, but those uses should focus on relevance to the target, not necessarily tweeting about real-time events that most the time have nothing to do with your brand.
It’s all about moderation, people.