Cashing in on a trend is nothing new to advertising agencies. Several notable (and not-so-notable) campaigns have used current events or fads to be noticed. Amul has been running topical hoardings for years now. Recently, brands like Bajaj Allianz and Kingston have attempted to create buzz by associating with Ghajini, the movie.
In the US, several brands appear to be riding piggy back on Obama’s popularity, the media attention, his theme for ‘change’ and his inauguration. I already spoke about Pepsi’s new ad campaign. Now they are following it up with an “open letter” video montage from Americans to Obama. And urging the consumers to send in their submissions are intellectuals & deep thinkers like Eva Longoria. Among the list of brands attempting to extract mileage, the effort by IKEA appeals to me. They have created the Embrace Change ’09 website which is a replica of the Oval Office. Using IKEA furniture you can create your own Oval Office. Nice match between the product offering & the event.
The success of such brand associations with an event depends on the category and the execution. For example, Colgate ran the ‘Talk to me’ campaign in India a few years ago. One of the print ads was a simple, ‘barbed wire at the border’ visual with the blurb ‘Talk to me’. Since India-Pak tensions were in the public eye then, it worked.
The link with Obama doesn’t just stop at tangential association. Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spiderman has already sold out twice and is currently rushing into a third printing. Apparently, all the rush is because after he becomes President such products will come under scrutiny, lest they come across as official endorsements. Sheesh, not enough time to execute my Obamania idea: a remixed version of Bahama Mama. Er…is there one already?