Ever since Oreo’s infamous ‘You can still dunk in the dark‘ tweet during the 2013 Superbowl, brands all over the world have invested time and money in trying to capitalise on real-time events on Twitter.

It was arguably a bit simpler back then, as Twitter displayed posts in a chronological order rather than putting brands at the mercy of the platform’s algorithm. These days companies need to try a little bit harder if they want to make an impact.

Of course, not every event is applicable to every account. The fear of missing out – FOMO – clearly hits some harder than others. This year’s World Cup has seen a few notable examples of companies trying just that little bit too hard to make an impression.

Heinz meanz FOMO

Take Heinz, for example. Their @HeinzUK account (with less than 4,000 followers, which surprised me a bit given the size of the company) is currently paying to promote this tweet:

It’s hard to know where to really start here. First of all, the link between the England and Colombia match and a sausage sandwich is tenuous at best. The best I can do is picture the Heinz logo as a sort of goal, given how it frames the plate. That’s as generous as I can be. All of the replies indicate that nobody else has no clue what the point of it is either.

After the match, which England won 4-3 on penalties, they started promoting the following:

This is, admittedly, a little bit better. There was a sausage, now it’s gone, and the “that hit the spot” comment is a clever little pun. And being “hungry for the next one” isn’t bad either. But again, there’s absolutely no link between what they’re promoting and the topic they’re addressing.

McCain’s tried to get involved with the match too, but I can’t help feel this would have been improved if they’d actually renamed their account as it’s not a bad pun.

This is their best performing organic tweet from the game, too. Most of their non-promoted activity has single figure retweets and likes, which is a pretty damning vote of confidence from their 5,000+ followers.

Lidl help?

Lidl’s real-time attempts make a bit of sense given that they’re in partnership with the England team. Their inclusion of real-time marketing also seems to have been planned out and actually thought-through. They have a few promoted tweets from the match, which have reasonable engagement (although relatively low considering they’ve got over 350,000 followers), but one tweet in particular stands out from their organic activity:

Look at the numbers on that. By tapping into a popular – and current – meme, while also echoing the thoughts of the watching fans (this is a UK account remember), they’ve struck social gold. Their voice was very much pro-England – again, making a lot of sense considering their partnership and the account’s audience – which has struck a chord with followers.

Real-time done right

Real-time marketing is an art. While a lot of planning can go into an event – especially when the dates are known long in advance – actually being able to pull something relevant off immediately following the end of a game is hard.

Just because you’ve planned to do something at full-time in a game like this doesn’t mean you actually have to if you can’t quite make it work. History won’t remember the brands that did nothing at full-time, but it will remember the ones who tried and failed to enter themselves into the conversation.

As with any marketing activity, brands need to consider their audience before getting involved in something that’s taking place live. What are they interested in? Is there any relevance? Can I make a comment that is meaningful and adds to the conversation? The reason tweets like those from Heinz and McCain’s fail is because the audience doesn’t have a clue what they’re looking at.

Jessica Smith of Social ‘n Sport summed it up well in a recent blog post:

The internet doesn’t need more brands chasing the flavor of the day. It needs more brands focused on a consumer-centric POV and adding value to the space. It’s time to stop wasting so much energy on chasing the next topic of the day and time to focus on your brand, your story… the one you uniquely own. Build a POV and know that it’s okay to not jump in on every conversation. In fact, it takes a lot of guts these days to say no. Build a POV that empowers you to do so.