Tag Archives: Advertising


Is it mere reaction? Or is it smart advertising?

Trace a relationship between the following:

Kitkat and iPhone

Super Bowl XLVII and Oreo

Snickers and Luis Suarez (The footballer)

Denny’s Diner and Scandal (TV Series)

NissanUK and Royal Baby (Kate & William’s child)

Don’t Google now. Making it convenient for you:


(Super Bowl XLVII’s now infamous blackout)



Didn’t social media marketing assume a new level of significance? I’ll tell you what’s different about this particular trend of “reacting” to an event, grabbing the context and “advertising” one’s own brand.

The 2013 Super Bowl blackout was a 34-minute hiatus. While the world groaned and viewers turned to their phones to respond to texts or check out Facebook, Twitter; Oreo delighted everyone with the tweet (shown above). With 10,000 retweets in 1 hour, this economically cheap mode of advertising scored better than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl ad, which ran to millions of dollars!

How did it happen in 34 minutes: The approval from the communications team, strategist, content editor etc.?

This is when we realize the fiercely smart planning for opportunistic advertisement by Oreo that night.

There was a 15-person social media team ready for any response to any event that could happened in the Super Bowl game that night. What luck! The advertisers, copywriters demonstrated agility during that 34-minute blackout window and the tweet served as the tipping point of a trend called: Reactvertising.

One may call it a form of social listening; a way of presenting your brand as one that is cognizant of world happenings or exhibiting intelligent creativity to further brand recall. These ads are reactive: the response time is a few minutes after the event they’re capitalizing on takes place. It’s a whole exciting face of social media marketing as brands feel alive, running in motion with world trends and closer to consumers’ worlds.

One of my friends, a copywriter in Hyderabad posted this as a reaction to Flipkart’s Big Billion Day fiasco:


And one of the most adorable ones is NASA’s tweet during the 2014 Oscars:


But then, there are those who pushed it too far:


Leveraging an event has a lot to do with the context of the event itself. No one gets severely affected if an iPhone bends (at least not physically, mental sour is subjective) but you cannot leverage on Hurricane Sandy and Cairo riots. Brand recall? Oh yes, but a really negative connotation to it. Not done.

Taking a dig on this trend that can oscillate between the hyper-reactive and the acceptable-reactive part of advertising, the advertising agency, John st. has come up with a hilarious video:

A personal touch, food for thought:

Sometimes we should prevent ourselves from getting subdued by the thick jargon of Kotler and view the world of marketing by analyzing such undercurrents around us.

Marketing/ advertising seems more fun then.

Nitisha Tomar is a PGP1 Student (2014-16) in IIM Ahmedabad


Text Advertising

If you ever thought that texting has been revolutionized by those umpteen emojis and add-ons that Whatsapp and other similar apps offer, you’re right. But if you ever thought that it has revolutionized “communication” per se, you might want to check out the following series of Starbucks ads:




The “Conversation Films” ad series that Starbucks has recently dished out hit the spot in terms of social connect with the viewers. The abstract components that shape most of our intimate conversations have been brought to focus with an immaculate and, surprisingly, simple ad showcasing the inherent weaknesses and emotional vacuum in text-based conversations.

An important social message that resonates with Starbucks’ brand concept of a social hangout forms the crux of the ad series. The visual minimization, voiceovers with natural background sounds matched with apt pauses coupled with the most impressive part:  the screen going blank with the voiceovers continuing their talk; Starbucks should be lauded for such a simple and yet powerful brand recall strategy.

And it isn’t just Starbucks that has come up with such text-based commercials. There seems to be an upward trend towards many brands adopting this advertising approach. Do check out the following:  Google’s classic “Parisian Love” and Honda’s more recent PSAs against texting and driving.

Dwell on the impact of these ads and we see a positive connotation attached with Starbucks and subtly negative and unsettling one with that of Honda. Where Honda also intended to drive home a social message that depicted social responsibility on their part, the level of brand recall seemed to be distant from what they seemed to target. Close repeated analysis of Starbucks v/s Honda ads brings forth the importance of undercurrents that need to go with the ad theme. They need to be impactful, but of course, have to be synergized with the brand and the message they would like to portray. Summing up the difference: Which ad would you like to watch again? Starbucks’ or Honda’s?

The Google ad leaves us asking for more creativity and impact factor. It’s swift, simple, tries to be exhaustive in terms of utilities offered by Google, but again, could’ve done a better job, we believe. Google, though, has come out with great Google search commercials in the recent past (Google Search: Anarkali) but since we are analyzing text-based commercials, it just didn’t hold that a firm ground in this particular ad theme.

And we see how the trend has shifted from typographical commercials to text-based ones with a smooth transition from a narration basis to a two-way communicational setting in parallel with the onslaught of texting in the recent years: A Starbucks 2008 Presidential election ad, tempting coffee lovers to exchange their vote for a free beverage.

Starbucks has clearly been riding on a smart trend-adaptation strategy with respect to its correctly positioned advertisements. It’ll be interesting to keep a tab on their upcoming ads for trend analysis.

And do watch this space for more text-based commercials from different brands.

Nitisha Tomar is a PGP1 Student (2014-16) in IIM Ahmedabad