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Monday, April 18, 2016

Ambush Marketing on Twitter

A note to Twitter habitu├ęs: There’s a name for the practice where advertisers follow you on Twitter solely for marketing's sake. Known in the ad trade as Ambush Marketing, it is one of many tactics in the creative repertoire of Guerrilla Marketing.

Avoiding sponsorship and other fees, ambush marketers position their own brands to ride the coattails of events and other brands (including the “brand” that is you) while imparting their own self-interested messages. A Wikipedia entry on the subject identifies predatory, coattail, values-based, insurgent, parallel property, unintentional, and saturation ambushes. There’s also ambush marketing by degree, association, distraction, and trademark/likeness infringement.

Multinational sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup earn big bucks from “official” advertising licensing fees. They also spend big bucks in policing “unofficial” advertisers who attempt to ride the “official” event’s coattails.

Here’s an iconic example of ambush marketing at its most memorable:  The Quebec-based home improvement chain Rona advertised its paint recycling services by positioning its own banner seamlessly beneath a billboard for the iPod Nano.

On Twitter, my own blog--Wig & Pen--has attracted followers who earn a living selling wigs. I have given them all permanent haircuts, but have resurrected two of them (reluctantly) for this article:

The takeaway: good grooming can work wonders for hair and in curating unloved followers.

Inspiration from the Life Sciences

Symbiotic biological relationships can shed light on the motives and machinations of overly self-serving followers. By and large, my own tango with followers exemplifies mutualism, where both they and I benefit (and follow each other). The rest--most of whom I block--involve parasitism or commensalism. Downsizing parasites needs no explanation, but I allow a few others   of the commensal persuasion like to remain followers. The benefit flows one-way (toward them), but they do no harm via invidious products, services, or causes.

They are the white egrets to my muskox.

 Commensal or Mutualist? Only their hairdresser knows for sure.