For many marketing teams, finding the “next great pitch” or creating the “next great ad” can be quite the time-consuming process. Sometimes, however, there are days when things just fall into your lap. That’s what Proctor & Gamble, maker of Tide detergent, found out a week ago at the Daytona 500.
After NASCAR driver Juan Montoya lost control of his car under caution and slammed into one of the jet dryer trucks, hundreds of gallons of jet fuel spilled onto the track and eventually ignited. The race had to be halted and the red flag was displayed. Once the fire was put out, there were worries as to whether or not the track would be in good enough condition to finish “The Great American Race”.
The first mission was to rid the track of the residue left from the chemicals that helped extinguish and clean up the giant fire. Darrell Waltrip, member of the FOX broadcasting team and NASCAR Hall of Fame driver, mentioned that they used to use Tide detergent to try to tackle these types of on-track “stains” back in the day. Just to prove how strong driver-sponsor loyalty is in NASCAR, Tide just so happens to be one of Waltrip’s former sponsors.
Just a short while later, the FOX cameras zoomed in on the crash site and found a truckload of jumbo-sized Tide boxes being used by NASCAR track officials. The officials ended up spreading the detergent all over the crash site, followed by washing it away with a pressurized hose. Talk about product placement…
Due to the Daytona 500 being moved to a Monday night race and the unique situation at hand, social media chatter exploded about the event. Too add even more fuel to the fire (pun intended), driver Brad Keselowski posted a picture of the mess to Twitter from inside his car. This took chatter about the race to a whole new level, as no one was expecting a driver to carry an iPhone in his race car. The act just also happened to net Brad 100,000 new followers that night. Amazing.
So, not only was there a bizarre situation at hand with millions of television viewers, but now chatter in the social media world went nuts. In this age of marketing in which social media has such an influence, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Sure enough, P&G capitalized on the moment. Less than a week later during FOX’s telecast of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix, Tide aired the following 15 second spot:
Since the ad was basically done for them already, not only did P&G accomplish a quick turnaround, but they did it at a relatively low cost. They even created their own hashtag at the end of the spot: #tidepower. You just can’t ask for much more than that in today’s world of advertising.
In the end, the team at Proctor & Gamble was presented with a perfect chance to capitalize on a golden opportunity, and they nailed it. Congrats to them.