When Jon Stewart retired in early August, many guests, fans and even critics showered him with accolades and farewells. But among those who said they’d miss him, there was one surprise: Arby’s.
Stewart had made lampooning the fast food chain a running joke on the show, yet the publicity was good for the company. Most of the resulting chatter was positive, served to increase awareness and contributed to a growth in sales, the brand told the Wall Street Journal. And that was before it seized the pop culture moment.
But grasping such a moment isn’t easy to do, and it’s even more difficult to spin it into a positive result. For organizations to cash in on pop culture moments, they need to be constantly monitoring the media landscape for news that is both topical and relevant to their brand. Then, they need to be prepared to seize the opportunity and quickly turn it into a campaign that can drive consumer conversations about their brand.
Without the right marketing infrastructure in place, however, it can be difficult to jump into a dynamic moment with effective advertising and marketing campaigns. With a bit of planning, though, brands can build upon emerging news stories and orchestrate iconic moments of their own. There are three essential pieces that need to be in place to make it happen.
Only by keeping a close watch on mentions of your brand and industry can you hope to identify and seize the moment in time to enter the conversation. That’s why setting up alerts should be your first step toward finding relevant pop culture opportunities. Our Watchlist feature can do the work for you. With just a few clicks, you can set up several alerts to monitor broadcasts and automatically alert you to mentions of your brand as well as relevant cultural topics. When you identify a potential moment, you can analyze the coverage to determine which journalists and media outlets are covering the news, so you’ll know who is the right producer to pitch.
A Creative Marketing Team
You’ll need your most creative advertising and marketing professionals to be ready to leap into action. Rarely will you have a long lead time – like Arby’s did – to react. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, you can’t follow the typical creative process, and it’s smart to have the team brainstorm and prepare for likely scenarios. Even if the ideas aren’t quite right, they often can be adapted on the fly. It’s always easier than starting from scratch.
For most brands, the approval process tends to be lengthy and time-consuming. But a pop culture moment is just that: a moment. Be prepared with a streamlined timeline created just for this type of opportunity. Don’t overlook the importance of vetting ideas for legal or reputational issues, but do recognize that timing is pivotal to the success of this type of campaign.
Although the Arby’s/Jon Stewart pop culture moment may seem an aberration or a lucky shot, there’s always something on the horizon. I’ll go out on a limb and say the New York Mets may provide a pop culture moment for Marvel and DC Comics or perhaps a men’s shampoo brand as fans and the media rally around their long haired pitching staff that goes by superhero inspired nicknames.
It’s fun to imagine how brands might seize a Mets Series win and turn it into a memorable moment of their own.