BALLSY Or BALLS-UP? March Real-time Marketing Round-Up

March was a big month for real-time marketing and for me professionally. Brands went nuts about a black and blue or white and gold dress. TopGear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was sacked. Zayn left One Direction. And I launched a new consultancy TBC and have committed to blogging regularly about brands attempting to be more relevant with their content.

To kick things off, I’ve partnered with my incredibly smart friend Jessica Hagy to provide you with original infographics related to trending topics that brands are currently newsjacking:

Jessica captures this tragic moment perfectly for me. I wish brands were as clever. Fortunately, supermarket Lidl UK made me smile with this tweet (thanks to friend & PwC creative director Lee Connett for the tip-off):

This was quick and clever (my Newsjacking co-author Grant and I call it Urgent Genius.) It was related to what they do. It featured a relevant product. It wasn’t lazy in any way like the #TheDress tweets where brands found common ground in the sole fact that their logo also featured a colour. On that note, here’s a slide from my Lazyjacking: The Art of The Mindless Brand Tweet workshop:

Was it BALLSY? I shared my checklist with the Ad Week Europe crowd last week:

By BALLSY, I mean Brave, Actionable, Long-term, Likeable, Surprising and You-centric. I think it was all of those (Thanks, Nick, for the photo).

It was as BALLSY as that Salvation Army response to #TheDress, don’t you think?

I got really excited about this tweet, and it almost made me forgive all the “colour of our logo” lazyjacking. Here’s one more lazy one complete with photoshopped orange dress for you:

The Salvation Army tweet got the whole world talking about it and domestic violence. I think some of the best examples of newsjacking have mostly been by charities who have found natural connections to current events. This reminds me of our chapter on using newsjacking for being genuine and relevant. I love this case study where the makers of Farmville reacted to the tsunami in Japan by creating a crop unique to Japan in less than 12 hours and donated the money to a charity helping find homes for 100,000 children displaced by the tsunami:

Photo copyright: Thames & Hudson, 2013 (taken from Newsjacking: The Urgent Genius of Real-time Advertising by Grant Hunter and yours truly)

The month of March has had more examples of BALLSY real-time marketing than proper BALLS-UPS like the ones featured in my new card game Tits Up Balls Up which was featured in one of The Drum’s Top 5 Best Bits of SXSW lists (thanks Nigel):

I am very grateful for that. As I do more workshops with brands and collaborate with awesome folk like Jessica Hagy (check out her new Art of War Visualized book here), I am hopeful that more brands will create real-time content strategies and write them down and post them all over their newsroom/war-room/board room with screens/command centres. There are more brands out there who are willing to take risks and fail faster. I’m helping as many as I can stop embarrassing themselves online by hijacking Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Arab Spring and the next school shooting in the US. After we get what used to be my favourite newsjacking moment out of the way (April Fool’s Day) until brands decided to invent lame new joke products ad naseum, let’s go back to trying to help people. Let’s create useful AND entertaining real-time content.

If you see anything reactive and unplanned out there that I need to know about, please tweet it to me at @jonburkhart.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the coming months so please feel free to comment and help me get better at this whole regular blogging thing. Gotta start somewhere.