"What's Your Shade" banner at Lovers store

3 Ways Companies Leveraged the News for Marketing

Fifty Shades of Grey was all over the news. Lovers stores took advantage of all the press by putting-up banners asking “What’s Your Shade?”

They were not the first to take advantage of what’s hot, and won’t be the last. However, some do it better than others.

Keep it Relevant

Pi Day has been gaining visibility in recent years, with observances including math discussions and eating pie. What caught my attention this time was how WDLabs ran with it as a marketing opportunity.

Raspberry Pi is a small computer board, and the Raspberry Pi community joins in the Pi Day festivities. WDLabs released a small hard drive called the Pi Drive to complement the Raspberry Pi. Check out the specs, remembering that the formula for Pi starts with 3.1415:

  • 314 GB capacity
  • $31.42 promotional price
  • Announced on 3/14, including a tweet with an animation of a retro raspberry game:

Keep It Current

Even with 24 hour news channels showing the same stories over and over (especially traumatic news), most news has a finite shelf life.

The Raspberry Pi has legs, but Pi Day has a short lifespan. (Even the Pi Drive is no longer available.) I admit that this post was inspired by Pi Day, and I wanted to leverage the day, but I was careful not to include that in the title. After all, marketing is important all year round – not just on Pi Day.

That said, I thought the promotion was interesting enough that I shared it on Twitter – at 3:14 on 3/14:

Keep It Classy

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch inspired BendGate when it was found that the 6 Plus could be more… flexible… than expected. The BendGate name itself was designed to position this as one in a long string of “gates” named after the Watergate scandal.

BendGate was an example of how easy it is to attach your message to something that’s getting lots of press. It was promptly followed by spoofs – and marketing for other products. Some were clever, some were tacky, and some were completely unrelated.

Keep your message classy, and actually related to the headlines you’re rubbing elbows with.


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