Six examples of clever reactive marketing

The big wide world of social media has without doubt changed the dynamics of content marketing and advertising forever.

Social media has, to a certain extent, helped birth reactive marketing. This form of marketing is the complete polar opposite of proactive marketing, as instead of working to anticipate changes across consumer markets, it usually takes place because of an unforeseen circumstance or an unplanned opportunity.

It’s easier than ever before for brands to communicate at the push of a button and the opportunities could well be endless.

We decided to take a look at six of the best examples of brands absolutely nailing reactive marketing and involving themselves in an online conversation around a current issue.


The infamous horse meat scandal was one that Mini brilliantly capitalised on for their own advantage.

With just one simple advertisement, that included a very clever play on words, Mini pushed their name into the discussion, which theoretically they should of been nowhere near.


The 2012 Olympics will be remembered for many things. One of them is particularly unfortunate for residents of North Korea. Before a football match between Scotland and North Korea at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown by mistake which caused protests from the North Korean players.

Specsavers wasted no time in creating an advertisement reacting to the error. They featured both the North and South Korean flags and aimed to connect the mistake with their well known ‘ should have gone to Specsavers’ ad campaign.


For Jeremy Clarkson, if there was ever a positive to take from being sacked by the BBC following his “scuffle” with a producer, it might have been the box of 48 Snickers bars that the company sent to him.

The reactive PR stunt was a tweet showing postage on the box to be sent out by the company. The stunt has parrallels with the long running TV campaign they have where chocolate is given to people who aren’t acting themselves due to hunger. 


It’s well known that the Superbowl is the biggest game of the year when it comes to American Football and it attracts one of the biggest TV audiences for any sporting event in the world. Due to this, the Superbowl has become one of the most expensive advertising slots on the TV with thirty second slots costing many millions.

Volvo decided to take a completely different approach to other big car brands who spend millions in Superbowl advertising. The idea they came up with was simple but genius. Every time a car commercial was shown on TV during the Superbowl, Volvo asked viewers to tweet #volvocontest to get a chance to win a car for a person they nominated.

By doing this Volvo stole all the buzz away from other brands, who had paid millions for a TV slot, and refocused viewers attention on theirs and shifted all the social conversation to Volvo. It’s been known as the best “steal” ever - sticking with all things American Football. 


Game of Thrones
June 2015 seen the Supreme Court of the United States rule in favour of marriage equality, people took to social media to share their excitement at the decision and plenty of brands quickly jumped in to the mix.

Game of Thrones showed their support for the decision with this tweet, that includes one of the shows gay characters in front of a rainbow flag. It certainly added a human element from the HBO show about a topic that thousands of people were ecstatic about.


This one is a little bit more proactive than some of the others we’ve featured, but it again shows the willingness of a brand to jump on something that’s popular on social media.

NASA decided to run an all-day hashtag campaign on the back of the space movie Gravity being nominated for an Oscar in 2014. Using the hashtag #RealGravity, they posted numerous fun facts and striking visuals that were related to gravity.


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