Earlier this week in class, we talked about the importance of businesses and brands finding a consistent frequency for posting content, but it can be just as important for these players to stay close to the conversation and react when necessary. During sporting events that garner a global audience like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or the World Cup, brands that insert themselves in a compelling, authentic way can use that engaged audience to help their own image. A great example is the way that Oreo sprung into action during the Super Bowl in 2013 when the lights went out during the game. Their post went viral, receiving nearly 7K likes and over 15K retweets, thereby leveraging the massive audience of the game, even though it was not a paid advertisement.
Just this week, a similar opportunity presented itself during the Winter Olympics. This year, Jamaica Bobsled & Skeleton Federation (JBSF) sent their first women’s bobsled team to the Winter Olympics. In addition, they are Jamaica’s first women to ever compete in the Winter Games. However, on Wednesday, the women’s team coach Sandra Kiriasas “quit the team after a role dispute with the JBSF” and threatened to take away the team’s sled that she owned.
Jamaican beer brand Red Stripe saw the situation happening and immediately reached out via Twitter Thursday morning offering to “pick up the tab” for a new sled for the team in order to make sure the Jamaican women were able to compete and make history. The Jamaican Bobsled Team responded on Twitter, asking for Red Stripe to contact them and by Thursday evening, the Jamaica Gleaner confirmed that a sled had been secured for the team through Red Stripe’s efforts.
Red Stripe’s original tweet received nearly 1K retweets and 2K likes in a day, receiving strong engagement for an account with just over 3.3K followers. The story was picked up by top news sources (CNN, The Guardian, HuffPost, USA Today) and even confirmed by top sports business influencers like Darren Rovell (over 2M+ followers).
The sentiment has been overwhelmingly positive for Red Stripe and I would venture to say the possibility of a long-term relationship between the JBSF and Red Stripe after this year’s games is highly likely. From Red Stripe’s actions, we can see that timeliness is just one piece of the puzzle for a successful brand reaction. Beyond being on time, brands must react in a way that is authentic to who they are and compelling to their audience. Red Stripe’s tone was playful, yet supportive of their home country and immediately followed up by action. It did not come off as opportunistic or advantageous. It was clear that they wanted to genuinely help these women who were placed in an unfortunate situation.
Photo Credit: Uditha Wickramanayaka
LinkedIn: Kenden Blake