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Situational Marketing: How a Marketer Should Respond to Newsbreaks in the World

In our world, big events and incidents occur with a certain periodicity, and everyone reacts by own way. If we are talking about a marketer, he is responsible for the reputation of the company and brand. Sometimes you need to keep silent, sometimes - to pay attention, and in some situations, you can turn everything in your direction. Let's try to be objective and consider situations on behalf of a professional, because this is a delicate topic that is uncomfortable, but necessary to discuss.

Let's divide global events into three conditional types:

  1. Funny
  2. Neutral
  3. Tragedy


"Funny" events are what you should react to at first. Especially if you are doing entertainment content, or you are good in aggressive marketing. Funny sitatuions or fails are a great way to increase reach or diversify content, but, of course, if it's appropriate.

For example, a slap in the face at the 2022 Oscars.

On the one hand, this is an interesting and curious situation that the whole world was discussing: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the air! You can laugh and pick up the trend - then people will see that your company is not just a soulless machine, but also a place where real people work.

Imagine that we are promoting the once popular Pokemon GO game. Why not post something like this?

We, Popsters, also supported the mainstream and posted a post about the slap in the Facebook and Instagram, as well as tips on how to use the current news to your advantage.

But there is another side of the coin. Will Smith didn't just slap the face, but reacted to a joke about his wife. Will Smith's fans were not happy after the news that the actor began to be "cancelled". Weigh the approximate pros and cons, and if you understand your audience will adequately respond to such content, then will use it.

The slap at the Oscars is one example, and there can be many similar situations: the divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, the deal Elon Musk and Twitter, the controversy over the color of the dress, etc.

Funny events are a good reason to be "in the know" and increase your reach, but the reaction can affect the company's reputation. If you ignore such an event, then most likely it will not affect your reputation in any way.


Neutral events are events that are quite famous and popular in the world, but cause mixed emotions. You can use neutral events for educational or entertaining content, and such events are more of an informational nature.

For example, Super Bowl or Eurovision. The largest companies in the world think about interesting and expensive marketing campaigns and launch unusual format ads, which are discussed by the media for several days. If your subject is marketing or sports, then you can catch on to this.

Classic neutral events include any holidays. Of those worth paying attention to: Christmas, International Women's Day, national holidays, the company's birthday. Be sure to use holidays related to your field of activity.

"Neutral" events are an excellent opportunity to conduct a promotional campaign and popularize your product. These are the most reputation-safe events that will play into your hands.


The most delicate issue is how companies should respond to the tragedy. We are talking about terrible events and mourning, for example, a major plane crash, the death of the Queen Elizabeth II or military operations. The difficulty of the choice is not to spoil the reputation without saying anything, or, conversely, not to receive criticism for inappropriate statements.

First, it would be logical to temporarily postpone entertainment content.

Second, to understand how the brand is associated with this event. If you have a condom company or an event agency with holiday organizations, then a post about expressing sympathy for the death of a famous politician or actor would be inappropriate. If your employees died in some kind of disaster, then the reaction will be appropriate. After the recent deaths of two Ozon workers in a warehouse fire, the company has chosen a policy of not publicizing it. But McDondald's and Apple, which are not particularly associated with England and Queen Elizabeth II, on the contrary, posted mourning banners on their websites and in establishments. 

Third, consider how you can help. Saying kind words of support is good, but sometimes it looks like hypocrisy. If you really want to help, then try to organize a fundraiser to help those affected by the disaster. It will always be appropriate, and you will do a good deed using the tools available.


We offer to consider situational marketing in practice and examples:


There are always things going on in the world. They are different: from funny to tragic. Marketers need to keep a close eye on world newsbreaks, keep abreast of current discussions and use it wisely for themselves and the company. It's a good reason to increase your reach, but always remember that the reputation of the company is in your hands.


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