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What the Great American Eclipse Can Teach Your Brand About Opportunistic Marketing


image of the moon eclipsing the sun – the Great American Eclipse
As the Great American Eclipse swept across the nation earlier this week, you undoubtedly witnessed a deluge of brands who took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle to promote their products, services and blackout sales.
Did your company learn anything from these opportunistic marketing campaigns?

What is opportunistic marketing?

Opportunistic marketing is ultimately a marketing campaign that leverages a one-time or recurring phenomenon to sell products and services to a wide range of consumers who would have otherwise not been exposed to the brand.
Examples of events that fit well into opportunistic marketing strategies include:

  • Natural phenomenons, like rare solar eclipses and devastating weather (tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, etc.), are opportunistic in nature.
  • Seasonal events, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, falls under this category, albeit these events are annually predictable.
  • Miscellaneous occasions, like leap year, special weekends and unofficial holidays, such as National Bacon Day, National Donut Day, National Cupcake Day and more.

How Opportunistic Marketing Works

Opportunistic marketing is powered by one overarching concept: mass exposure. Largely with the help of avenues like social media and targeted ads, brands are able to tap into large-scale public spectacles to increase their visibility.
For instance, brands who recently used #SolarEclipse2017, #eclipse2017 or #GreatAmericanEclipse in their social media marketing were inevitably shoved into the feeds of people who were interacting with these hashtags before, during or after the event. While this tactic isn’t guaranteed to transmit into sales, the likelihood of generating more earnings due to the sheer fact of increasing the number of eyeballs that see your brand can prove significant, if carried out in a creative, effective way.

Real-World Examples of Opportunistic Marketing

These major brands are just some of the many who have approached the Great American Eclipse with marketing-colored glasses. Have you witnessed any of these campaigns?

Nike’s Solar Eclipse Picks

Who knew the most epic solar eclipse of the century could look this good? Nike Apparel took the time to curate a list of men’s and women’s all-black clothing collections to highlight the mystery and power of an eclipse-induced darkness.

Denny’s Mooncakes

Okay, they’re really just pancakes, but with some creative copy, the right corona-infused graphics and one lofty offer, Denny’s all-you-can-eat “mooncake” deal is a pancake-lover’s dream, compliments of the Great American Eclipse.

Krispy Kreme’s Eclipse Donut

Speaking of food, Krispy Kreme decided to get in on the eclipsing fun. Just like the dark essence of the moon sweeps in to cover the warm surface of the sun, this donut dynamo offered a limited time glazed donut, encapsulated in chocolate. Please, resist your watering mouth until the end of this article. We’re almost there. 😉

Chiquita’s Sun Announcement

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying banana! If there’s one thing Chiquita knows, it’s crescent-shaped fruit. And what looks exactly like crescent-shaped fruit? Um, the moon eclipsing the sun! That’s right, you thought you were watching a solar eclipse on Monday when you were really staring at an incredibly bright banana.

Southwest Airlines and the Path of Totality

Not every brand can promise to get their customers closer to the sun, but that’s exactly what Southwest Airlines did during the Great American Eclipse. The popular air transportation company allowed passengers to book flights that traveled across the path of totality, enabling all aboard these five flights to experience the eclipse again, and again, and again, and again, and again….

How to Start Your Opportunistic Marketing Campaign

Although there will not be another Great American Eclipse in our lifetime, there will certainly be other events ripe for opportunistic marketing strategies. That said, cashing in on a major public event isn’t as easy as tying your products and/or services to the occasion; the connection has to make sense! Start brainstorming now about how your brand can best serve its customers when the next opportunity rolls around.
And as always, if you need some help sharpening your brand’s marketing prowess, we know a group that would be excited to get involved!
Thanks for reading. Happy Eclipse Week!

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