If the object of advertising is to raise awareness and get yourself talked about, then mission accomplished for the team at Union Jack Radio.
Their pitchside digital display ad during tonight’s Men’s World Cup Qualifier at Hampden has put a radio station few had heard of previously right at the heart of the conversation – look at this:
So what’s happened…don’t they understand?!
You might argue ‘Why the fuss?, Why shouldn’t Scotland embrace the Union Flag and enjoy a radio station that plays the best British music?’
A valid argument perhaps but it’s about context. And in the context of football, especially the Scotland national team, playing at home, at Hampden, the Union Flag doesn’t really figure. And for once, it’s not a debate about independence or remaining part of the union, the flag itself just doesn’t figure, regardless of political beliefs.
My personal belief (and that’s all – I’ve no knowledge of this particular situation) is that an advertising agency bought some space, probably part of a blanket campaign to involve promoting Union Jack Radio at ALL the home nations’ World Cup qualifiers. They haven’t thought, haven’t realised, just had an opportunity and threw their logo at it.
What they do next is the important bit.
Because cheeky advertising is bang on the brand values for Union Jack Radio (and its better known sister station Jack FM.) Tongue in cheek is what they do, and with this pitch side advertising at Hampden, they might have inadvertently stumbled into something that could truly connect and go viral.
So, if they’re smart, they’ll respond to some of these Tweets from incensed Scotland fans. Maybe reference the score. Some Scottish bands. Opt out of their jukebox for a bit and hire a well known Scottish personality to host some programmes for them. Or – and I believe the technology would allow for this – change their advert in the 2nd half to reference the slagging they’re currently taking on Twitter.
It’s easy to get reach and awareness these days. True engagement is harder, and to get Scottish football fans to scan their digital radios for a new station and actually give it a listen, is nigh impossible.
But if Union Jack follows up what many believe to be a mistake with something clever and utilise real-time, then they could still win some new fans before the final whistle blows.
The key is the follow up. Trolling Scotland fans and making them angry doesn’t constitute marketing ‘genius’ although I’ll bet some self-appointed PR ‘guru’ writes a blog in the morning suggesting it does. No, reach and getting talked about is the easy part. For this particular piece of advertising to have any value, Union Jack Radio needs us to listen.