True to the millennial that I am, my favorite hobby in recent years has been live-tweeting big live telecast events. That said, I would like to touch on how brands are or should be tuning into these events, no matter how seemingly irrelevant, to identify new marketing opportunities using the “second screen.” On Tuesday night, in true Twitter monkey fashion, I joined the Twitter hordes, providing some of the most entertaining and insightful commentary—perhaps even more insightful than CNN—during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. By far the most entertaining part of live-tweeting televised events is watching my most intimate thoughts and observations stream through Twitter before I even mention them. From Veep Joe Biden’s intelligent squint with his sleek reading glasses to John Boehner’s impressive tan, Twitter users are leaving no stone unturned as they document these live moments, unlocking new opportunities for brands to seize real life use cases as moments to advertise their products e.g. Oreos at the Super Bowl.
The rise of the so-called “second screen” has magnified observations that may have otherwise been overlooked under traditional circumstances—or if they were noted, they would hardly leave your living room. Now, thanks to the hashtag (#SOTU, #SuperBowl, #Grammys) viewers are now able to share their observations with thousands if not millions. This has opened up countless opportunities for brands to insert themselves into real-time conversations that would otherwise only appear in a tabloid the next day. Think about it. In a 60-minute speech, any brand can now find an opportunity to capitalize on the smallest moment; a Freudian slip, a stumble, an awkward glance, a snub or even a quote can present a huge opportunity for a brand. Case in point, during Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, while many had already checked-out, there is no denying that the highlight of the night wasn’t actually POTUS’s speech, but Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s thirsty grab for a tiny bottle of Poland Spring water. My first reaction was to search ‘Poland Spring’ on Twitter where countless mentions were already picking momentum. Jokingly mentioning how a sip of water could potentially cause a stock bump for Nestlé, I was reviewing Poland Spring’s social channels in no time. This highlights an interesting trend about millennials. According to Forrester Research, Inc., 18% of millennials look up products related to the show or commercial they are watching.
Given this information, I must say I was disappointed that Poland Spring was nowhere to be found during this golden moment. Actually, they only posted something on Facebook the following day as I was drafting this post, evoking mixed reviews from the social media community for their untimely reaction. I wasn’t expecting their social media team to have been prepared to throw some promoted tweets, but in this day and age, brands can still take social leadership in moments like this. At the least, it can be as simple as creating a hashtag for the moment or creating a Twitter handle for whatever inanimate object involved e.g. @SuperDomeLights or @RubioH2OBottle, allowing brands to own and become the center of the conversation. At most, brands can take inventory of relevant televised events through out the year, run scenarios to identify potential marketing opportunities, and set up a live war room for quick turnaround as social media agencies are being increasingly employed to do. However brands go about this, I hope this serves as a lesson for them to understand the countless opportunities that are coming from unlocking the power of the second screen. Alas Poland Spring, let this be your foray into the social media space.