Every SME worth their salt is generating their own content these days, whether it be a blog or industry-specific articles.
The quality varies, but the trajectory of the quantity is only heading in one direction – up.
So how do you make your content stand out in the sea of articles floating through social media? What tools can you use to make millenials and other target markets stop swiping for a second and take notice?
One trend which has produced real outcomes is the use of popular culture. By tapping in to current trends and appealing to your audience’s existing likes, you can engender immediate engagement.
That translates directly to sales, as these two recent examples will highlight.
‘This sauce is ***ing amazing’. Rick and Morty deliver McDonalds marketing gold
Using a line from a cartoon to resurrect a long dead product
Popular shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park and American Dad! have generated massive cult followings and paved the way for many new adult cartoons to flood the market.
One of the most successful, modern cartoons has been Rick and Morty, a sci-fi rollercoaster fusing clever humour with vulgarity.
In one recent episode, a massively convoluted story arc (typical of this show) ended with the main protagonist declaring he engineered it all just to get some of McDonalds Szechuan sauce.
This was a dipping sauce for nuggets packaged with Happy Meals in the 1990s to tie in with the Disney movie Mulan. It was nothing special and there had been no public outcry for its return.
McDonalds is not the institution it once was, swimming hard against the tide of healthier eating options that are taking vital chunks out of the market share.
So what did they do? Re-release the Szechuan – in VERY limited volumes.
By generating content that used the Rick and Morty brand, and declared openly that the product would be limited, McDonalds enjoyed engagement that went through the roof.
Selling old product as something new again
The great video game war of the 1990s was the stuff of legend. Industry giant Sega had released the Megadrive (Genesis in the United States) to much fanfare.
Hot on their heels, Nintendo launched the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1992, which sparked the greatest video game war of all time.
Arguments in school playgrounds would turn nasty as the debate over which system was better raged. The two companies leveraged this, declaring open war through advertising channels (Sega does what Nintendon’t was one witty catchphrase).
Now 25 years late, Nintendo has recognised the power of nostalgia by releasing ‘mini’ versions of their NES and SNES consoles. They come pre-loaded with games and are ready to work with modern screens.
Their greatest masterstroke, though, was only making a very limited run of each and telling the fans there would be no more.
This artificial shortage had customers lining up out the door of their local electronics of department store to get one, despite the fact that the software is available for free or very cheaply on computers and modern consoles.
These are just two examples of leveraging pop culture in your business content to gather massive engagement. The key is to monitor current trends, as well as the trends of your target audience. If you can align these with your product, you are onto a winner.
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Alan De Leon
Header image credit: Annie Spratt