The underdogs of the Winter Olympics, the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team, have faced many challenges over the course of their competing years – famously documented in the 1993 Disney film, Cool Runnings. When the Jamaican Women’s team qualified to compete in this year’s Winter Olympics for the first time it appeared their luck had changed.
However, this week the team’s coach announced that she would be leaving the team, taking both the sponsorship deals and bobsled with her. With the ownership of the bobsled in dispute, the Jamaican Women’s Bobsleigh Team feared they could no longer compete because, let’s face it, it’s probably impossible to compete in a bobsledding competition, without a bobsleigh.
In stepped Red Stripe: ‘No Bobsled, no problem.’
A beer that is ‘brewed in Jamaica and shared with the world’, Red Stripe were happy to foot the bill for a new bobsled and support their home country in the Winter Olympics. But, it was more than just home-town pride that forced them to lend a hand in saving the day. It was reactive marketing; a brand spotting an opportunity to make a difference and build brand awareness in the process.
What is Reactive Marketing?
With the rise of social media, brands now have the ability to watch the conversation and join in at the touch of a button. Most brands are delivering some form of scheduled proactive social media campaign, but not all brands are inserting themselves into the moment, reacting to current topics and viral news.
Even when a brand’s attempt at reactive marketing does not quite land, one example being Papa John’s attempt to steal KFC customers in the midst of the current chicken crisis, we can still appreciate them for trying. With a finger on the pulse, a fast-thinking brand can build themselves into the narrative of the timeline rather than repeatedly post irrelevant content which fails to create an impression.
How Can Brands Execute Reactive Marketing?
To create a successful reactive marketing campaign, brands need to exercise attention and awareness. Due to the ever-changing nature of news and trends, reactive marketing has an increasingly small window of opportunity to get involved. The pressure to deliver content quickly and post in real-time can leave a brand open to making errors, missing the mark completely, or even showing up too late.
The reason Red Stripe have found success with their reactive marketing move is that they understand their brand voice. Rather than relentlessly pushing self-promotion in an obvious way, they have showed support for a cause that feels authentic and in-line with their brand values. And by doing so in a humorous way – put the bobsled on our tab – they will surely reap the benefits of brand loyalty and increased awareness.
It may not have had months of planning and execution but tweeting out that they’ll buy a $50,000 bobsled during the Winter Olympics may have earned Red Stripe a metaphorical gold medal with their digital audiences.