Staying on Your (Twitter) Toes

By Kenden Blake

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

Twitter: @kblake78

LinkedIn: Kenden Blake

This Article Has 13 Comments
  1. Celine De Clercq says:

    What wonderful examples of appropriate, yet fun social media use by brands. We often focus on the negative things that brands do (mostly in an effort to learn from their mistakes), but I think it’s great to look at positive examples that we can learn from like these. Great post!

  2. Kelsey Fagan says:

    It’s amazing to think about the connection that brands have to large sporting event when it comes to advertising and in Red Stripe’s case simply paying attention to those sporting events. Social media, and Twitter in particular, definitely have a real-time grasp on the news and what’s happening and it’s allowing brands to connect immediately with fans and consumers.

  3. Kayla Henderson-Wood says:

    This story was a great analysis of media relations and really demonstrated what it can do! I appreciate you attaching all the tweets because it made it easy to picture the series of events. This article is perfect for the season and all sports lovers.

  4. Jordyn Volk says:

    I actually hadn’t heard about the Red Stripe/bobsled team interaction, so I’m glad I got to see it here! This shows that even company social media accounts need to be aware of the conversations happening around them whether they are about the company or not because you never know when opportunity will strike.

  5. Kyra Barker says:

    That is so great of Red Stripe to do! They did an amazing job of monitoring their trends and found the perfect way to insert themselves into the situation. I think we can all learn a lot from great brands like this. I agree with you that it genuinely seemed like Red Stripe wanted to help and wasn’t trying to just look good for the public!

  6. Jeanne Schneider says:

    I LOVE THIS STORY AND I’M SO GLAD IT MADE ITS WAY INTO YOUR POST! Opposite of the classes we spent talking about the negative power of cyber bullying, this story is an excellent display of how social media can be used for good. You’re right on too with Red Stripe intelligently inserting themselves into the conversation without a sponsorship spend.

  7. Kristle says:

    I was also unaware of this interaction, so I’m glad you wrote on this! It shows us a successful example of brand interaction on Twitter that doesn’t come off like jumping onto a tragedy. I also like you highlighted the importance of relationship with this particular interaction. It not only made sense for Red Stripe to intervene, but it also built the foundation for the relationship to grow.

  8. Jesse Walker says:

    It’s great when brands find authentic ways to connect with real-time situations. It’s not easy but can be very impactful if done correctly.

  9. Milla Hansen says:

    I thought the Oreo ‘Dunk in the Dark’ ad was hilarious when it was released, and now with Red Stripe! Golden! It is so important for companies to be timely and these two did an amazing job while also having a light and fluffy humor along with it.

  10. Marisa Biggins says:

    Thanks for the share Kenden! I missed this story as well but as others mentioned above- glad you added light to this rewarding jester for JBSF and Red Stripe. Another post a couple weeks ago talked about brands waiting to react but there is definitely a time to “stay on your (twitter) toes” too. I couldn’t agree more that Red Stripe was able to do this in an authentic way to show support for their countries team in such an urgent time of need in it’s first winter olympics for the women’s bobsled team. Although this was an example of a brand doing the right thing in supporting their team in a time of need, I wonder if this could become a loop hole for Rule 40. Brands my now keep an eye out to help their respective countries team at any capacity to bring more global eyeballs to their brand.

  11. Tess Meyer says:

    This is awesome! True connection with the brand. What better way to celebrate a gold medal that with a cold beer? Good on Red Stripe.

  12. Zach Rosen says:

    This is definitely one of the aspects of social media management that brands/companies overlook the most. Inserting yourself into the national conversation is an easy, free way to keep your brand in people’s minds. However, it can also be extremely risky. The margin for error is non existent, because everyone will see the post almost immediately, and will pounce if there’s anything wrong with it.

  13. Haley Brown says:

    What a touching story. I agree that it didn’t seem ingenuine at all that the beer company wanted to offer a bobsled to the team. Being patriotic and wanting to help/be apart of a piece of history makes total sense to me! It isn’t only about being timely on Twitter anymore either. Being timely in many different aspects can be super useful.

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