World continents connected via internet and social media over digital concept background
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Global events can captivate and engage the masses around the world. So it comes as no surprise to see brands working hard to to take advantage of events like the World Cup, the Super Bowl, astronomical events and everything else you can think of. And thanks to the digital revolution, it is now easier than ever before, for smaller brands to follow suit and create their own marketing campaigns during these occasions to generate engagement and brand awareness.

To help find inspiration on your next campaign we've highlighted five brands that took advantage of topical events to help grow awareness about their brand and sell their products and services.

1. Iceland Foods - The World Cup

When England’s national soccer team were eliminated by lowly ranked Iceland during Euro 2016, it didn’t take long for a plethora of jokes and memes to emerge on Twitter. Most notably, the UK-based supermarket, Iceland Foods got involved. 

In this year’s World Cup tournament taking place in Russia, Iceland qualified for the competition for the first time. Iceland Foods again took advantage by sharing humorous tweets and engaging directly with Iceland’s national soccer team’s Twitter account. Their tongue-in-cheek tweets were numerous, attracting hundreds and sometimes thousands of retweets.

Related Article: 12 Enterprise Brands Doing YouTube Marketing Right

2. Kraft - The Super Bowl

Figures from Statista show us that this year’s Super Bowl was watched by 103.4 million viewers. The Super Bowl has always been a major platform for advertising, generating $385 million in ad revenue in 2017, with each 30-second ad costing $5 million. A majority of these Super Bowl ads rely on celebrity endorsements, which can bump up the overall advertisement cost significantly. Kraft, on the other hand, didn’t rely on celebrity endorsements and opted to create their 2018 Super Bowl ad using user-generated content.

Kraft asked Instagram and Twitter users to upload videos and photos of themselves watching the game with their families using the hashtags #FamilyGreatly and #KraftEntry. The resulting ad, which was essentially a compilation of pictures and videos of families watching the game, positioned Kraft as a family-centered brand.  

3. Virgin Media - The Olympics

Virgin Media promotes their Wifi speed as either “superfast” or “ultrafast”. As part of their marketing campaign during the 2016 Summer Olympics, Virgin Media paid homage to Usain Bolt, who set the world record for the 100-meter sprint at 9.58 seconds at the 2009 World Athletics Championship. In their advertisement, Virgin Media strung together ten 9.58-second vignettes that showcased a different part of Bolt’s life. The purpose of the advert was to pay tribute to Bolt and to emphasize the role of speed in sports, and in web browsing.

Related Article: Why Instagram Stories Need To Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

4. KFC - The Royal Wedding

The rumored story of Prince Harry proposing to Meghan Markle over a roast chicken dinner definitely caught the attention of the marketing department at global restaurant chain, KFC. The fried chicken fast food chain developed a commemorative bucket of chicken that was decorated with a classic regal crest and also had both British and American flags.

Though this campaign was not a big revenue driver, it did align the brand with the royal wedding event and got people talking. Reports suggest that only 50 of these commemorative buckets were available at the KFC branch in Windsor.

5. Amtrak - The Solar Eclipse

The 2017 solar eclipse was the first to hit the US since 1979, and it generated a great deal of excitement. The eclipse was observed right across the country, with the best viewing spots in Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Nebraska and Wyoming. Many brands took advantage of this occasion, most notably Amtrak. They successfully ran an “Eclipse Train” from Chicago to southern Illinois that gave passengers mesmerizing views of the solar eclipse. They even provided free viewing glasses on board and tickets were sold out.

What’s the most inventive way a brand has taken advantage of a global event? Share your take in the comments below!