5 Tips For Brands To Score At National Event Campaigns

The holiday season may be over, but the calendar is still packed with events for the advertiser’s taking. With holidays and national events like the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics and Valentine’s Day in the next month alone, there is plenty of content to leverage for a brand.

Brands should think of these dates as news and pop culture events that allow them to connect authentically with fans. The best part is that if you do it right, with these five tips, you can launch a hugely successful campaign… without a huge budget. 

1. Plan ahead, but also plan to be spontaneous: Greater than a media opportunity, national events are relationship opportunities with great social conversation potential. Plan ahead with a solid strategy, but also plan to be spontaneous! Oreo’s amazing Super Bowl tweet is the first that comes to mind, but there are others. Last year, Pizza Hut launched a social media sweepstakes for Valentine’s Day where procrastinating customers could tweet #LastMinuteLovers and win dinner and a bottle of “Eau de Pizza Hut” perfume. They earned significant PR leading up to the event and were able to create a hilarious trend on Twitter that allowed people to post in real-time to keep the conversation going. 

2. Be authentic: National events like the Grammys aren’t just events; they’re news and pop culture. Last year’s Grammys earned over 18.7 million social media comments, second only to the Super Bowl with 30.6 million social media comments. With this volume of activity, events of this nature provide a prime opportunity for brands to interact authentically with their audiences. For example, ask five people how they interacted with the Grammys this past weekend, and you’ll likely get five different answers – some people rave for the red carpet, others are in it strictly for the music and are more likely to follow a music maven’s Twitter commentary and download the winners on iTunes than actually tune-in to the event. Be true to your brand and its fans, and interact with them in the unique way that they interact with national events.

3. Don’t overbuy: Demand drives significant cost increases in mass channels during national events, but rather than buying Sports Illustrated during Super Bowl week, think about where your consumer is and how they interact with your brand. Once you decide your brand voice and unique interaction with the national event, pursue media partners that target your specific audience.

4. Make everything you create easy to share: The goal here is to start a conversation that relates to your fans and makes them want to share it. Make sure your content works across all channels to ease friction of sharing. One incredible example is the Dove Real Beauty campaign, with 163MM global YouTube video views. Dove partnered with YouTube to distribute the video in 25 different languages to 33 of Dove’s YouTube channels and earned over 3.17 million shares during the first two weeks alone.

5. Give it #legs: Twitter’s hashtags and Facebook’s new clickable hashtags are a great tool for promotion and discovery. Coupling promotional hashtags with entertaining, sharable content drives reach and relevance. Seven-Eleven’s “Free Slurpee Day” on – you guessed it – 7/11 is a great example. Last July, they used the promotional #FreeSlurpeeDay tag, an event that started in 2010, and coupled it with a series of new entertaining #SlurpeeDance videos.



True that it can be overwhelming – not to mention intimidating – when driving campaigns around huge events, but just because you don’t have $4MM to spend on a 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can’t be a contender.

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