When marketing your own brand it feels as though you want to take advantage of every opportunity to get the word out. With Memorial Day weekend coming up it’s a good time to look at how to approach marketing on such holidays.
Memorial Day has in the recent past become a marketing objective for a lot of brands.
And why not? It’s both a long weekend and also the start of summer. Consumers are thawing from the winter’s chill, enjoying a holiday and are ready to get out and buy!
So… You should capitalize on it right?
Well, perhaps not. Memorial day is of course in reality a solemn day of remembrance for the men and women who have fallen in service of the U.S. military. Marketing around any day or event that has a serious cultural significance comes with a big risk factor. It’s easy to inadvertently offend your audience with a misjudged post.
Let’s take a look at some examples of marketing that don’t quite hit the mark.
— Stone Brewing Co. (@StoneBrewingCo) May 26, 2014
Here Stone Brewing Co. make a vague reference to “remembrance” but it’s just using the event itself to push their own brand and to the consumer will just come off as profit-seeking.
— Vegas Blow Dry Bar (@Vegasblowdrybar) May 22, 2014
No mention of remembrance at all! The (hopefully unintentional) choice of wording in “Going home is not an option :)” when associated with a day commemorating fallen soldiers is really bad!
LESSON: It’s more about matching sentiment than pushing your marketing. You want your message to resonate with your audience. If your post comes off as actively trying to take advantage of an meaningful event or situation it never goes down well, regardless of your intent.
Take time to enjoy the sweeter things in life today, & to remember those who made the sacrifices for us to enjoy them pic.twitter.com/6LcJfIosi0
— Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) May 26, 2014
Ok, so here Cinnabon’s intentions were good but their delivery was disastrous: by trying to weave their product into to the message they effectively equate the lives of U.S. soldiers with pastry products.
LESSON: Your words carry weight. If you’re going to tweet directly commemorating an event you make sure it doesn’t comes off as trivializing it.
The same goes for any picture you put with your message. In 2013 SpaghettiOs posted this tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbour:
The picture of their smiling cartoon mascot is totally contrary to the solemn weight carried by the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. This tweet received such a huge negative response that Cinnabon subsequently deleted it and issued an apology.
LESSON: A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure it matches the tone of your message.
So what do we take away from this?
Your social media marketing is a way for you to directly engage with your consumers. If you’re going to send out a tweet or put your brand out there on a day of remembrance make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Here’s a good example from American Airlines.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) May 26, 2014
A simple, well worded tweet with an appropriate picture is all that’s needed.
If you’re at all unsure about a post run it by a colleague or friend and get their opinion.