The Tokyo 2020 Olympics saw India for the first time win 7 medals. Ace shuttler PV Sindhu picked her second Olympic medal. But unfortunately, things soured as many leading brands in the process of congratulating her indulged in Moment marketing and decided to use this moment for furthering their commercial mileage.
Baseline Ventures the Sports marketing firm managing PV Sindhu has recently sent notices to 17 brands for using her picture after she won the bronze at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Moment marketing is an in thing now, but to use a person’s name or picture without their consent is unethical and PV Sindhu is a national icon and she is also the face for a few leading brands.
We spoke to a few marketing experts namely Karthik Srinivasan – Communication Consultant, Vani Gupta – Independent Marketing Consultant, Naresh Gupta – Co-Founder and Head Intern at The Bang in the Middle and Manesh Swamy, Sr VP – Creative, Social, PR, Marcom, Logicserve Digital on how do they see this blatant misuse and calling it moment marketing.
I believe this shake-up is long overdue. In the name of moment-marketing and trend-jacking, brands have been running amok for a long time. However, all these brands were also adequately scared of a BCCI or IPL and would do anything that mentions a player’s name or the tournament. I clearly recall creatives by large brands that avoided mentioning IPL and instead used ’20-20′. Yet, with Olympics and Indian athletes, brands don’t think twice before naming them or using the Olympics logo with impunity.
Moment-marketing and trend-jacking is perfectly fine, but they need to stick to the moment or the trend and not be direct by naming the participants who may be represented to mine their names and personal brands, as celebrity players. And this is entirely possible, but requires more thinking and creativity, because the creative needs to allude to the connection between the brand’s message and something that people are talking about. Instead, when only speed is the criteria, to hit the social networks first, brands and agencies forgo the creativity or thinking and string something utterly basic and share it online in the hope that it will go viral.
So, this moment of reckoning is long overdue in Indian marketing. I hope more players and their celebrity management firms come forward to sue and vocally protest this rampant misuse by brands and agencies. The more they do, the more the brand and agencies will think twice, just like how they do with anything to do with cricket or a cricketing tournament.
Over time, social media marketing has evolved into a format where brands celebrate or tag on various fluid moments which they feel are relevant for their brand and the audience. And if there is a national event, every brand wants to celebrate it. The IPLs and the World Cups have stricter copyright laws; hence you don’t see pictures of cricketers but victory silhouette poses in branded posts. The Golds and silvers are still rare for us, so people and brands go a little overboard genuinely to celebrate the Olympic feat. If the brand is just celebrating these small moments of joy without selling anything, I guess it shouldn’t be harmful. Considering the current situation, I am sure every brand will be cautious and will opt for the surrogate route with naming the athletes or showing their faces like the age-old “Nothing official about it” approach. It will be interesting to watch the trending moments on social media going forward and I am looking forward to seeing how content calendars change from here on.
I have no idea how and when the brands became vultures and started to act like thieves. A lot of work on ‘moment marketing’ is illegal, and it’s good someone is calling it out.
When a brand is merely congratulating a player on her/his victory that is understandable as the brand is participating in the joy of the countries’ victory. In doing that the brand is also making the nation feel proud of the victory. It also helps to build a higher decimal level to the players achievement and we as a nation are together and celebrating it. However when the brand uses the player’s pictures in a way to get commercial mileage to promote the brand’s message, then that is unjustifiable, for example, Happydent has used PV Sindhu’s picture to make a point on how efficacious their product is, it is totally unfair. It is unfair to the brands that have spent money in a commercial engagement they have with her, partnered with her and helped her get to the position she is now. It is absolutely fair for Sindhu or her Sports management Agency to take such brands to court if they haven’t partnered with her throughout and opportunistically driving commercial mileage out of her victory now.