Full disclosure: I haven’t binge-watched the fourth season of Netflix’s House of Cards yet. I know, I know but please try and contain your shock AND your spoilers. But have you seen the viral marketing campaign the House of Cards crew put together?
The campaign website they set up is chock-full of little calls to the show, while also looking totally legitimate. You can check it out here.
#FU2016 and #HoC (complete with its own show-specific emoji) are all over Twitter and it’s not just Underwood’s fans that are getting in on the action; brands from Mercedes Benz to Arby’s are hopping on the House of Cards hype train in hopes of both attaching their names to the frenzy and showing up in a hot topic trending across the Internet.
We posted about this a few days ago to our social media feeds, but this article gives some great examples of how these brands interact with their followers, who also happen to enjoy political intrigue puppet-mastery.
It’s Got a Name!
This is called Vertical Marketing Integration and is, in a broader sense, a form of news-jacking.
It’s the practice of jumping onto an event that’s happening right now. HubSpot has a great article on news-jacking. It’s a few years old now, but it still stands.
Not Just for the Small Screen
Movies receive the same treatment. This practice was especially evident when
Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered a few months ago. Leading up to the movie’s release, it seemed like literally every single company was comprised of Jedi and they were all controlling the Force to sell something. This article is a great collection of the best examples of brands interjecting Star Wars into their posts. There are some amazing examples here.
Word of Caution
Vertical Marketing Integration and Newsjacking can be HUGE for your brand. You’re jumping onto a trending news story or event in pop culture and getting yourself some free exposure to an active and engaged population.
But you need to make sure you do it right.
Understand the show, movie, story or event that you’re going to be participating in and make sure it makes sense to connect it with your brand.
In the article I linked above about House of Cards, it makes total sense to fans of the show that NVIDIA would post something about the show. The main character, Francis Underwood, is a gamer; in season one, he played Call of Duty religiously. NVIDIA is a manufacturer of video cards and video game accessories for PC gamers.
Give it a Try!
So long as you take the time to craft your message and make sure that it makes sense for your company to be posting about whatever movie, event, etc. that you’re choosing to talk about, Vertical Marketing Integration and news-jacking can seriously pay off. You’ll be showing your followers a different side to your brand and interacting with them on a different and, often times, more personal level. So, give it a go!
Let Us Know
Have you tried this tactic out? Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!