Eclipse Marketing: From Total Genius to Brand Blackout
Updated: May 13, 2019
A friend wondered on Facebook whether the eclipse was just a hoax to get us all scrambling to buy flimsy glasses at exorbitant prices, which got me thinking about how brands show their true colors, from crass to creative, during a big event like this.
CREATIVE AND EXPERIENTIAL
My favorite campaign by far is from Casper, the cleverly disruptive mattress company who consistently turns out some of the most brilliant email marketing around. The path of totality happens to include Casper, Wyoming, so Casper sponsored a contest offering a chance to win an all-inclusive experience to view it. (Of course, you also get to sleep on a Casper mattress in a luxury tent while you're there.)
I love this because Casper is offering something truly unique and valuable to their audience, in the highly effective partner contest format they use frequently. I didn't win, unfortunately, but I now have interesting brands like Sleepy Jones and Outdoor Voices on my radar.
SLICK, BUT SILLY
I'm less impressed by Chiquita's "Banana Sun" take from Weiden + Kennedy. It feels gimmicky and shallow by comparison.
Sure, it's a great-looking page, and it has a distinct point of view—which is that the eclipse is overrated. But it feels tone-deaf to me, this year in particular. Wouldn't it be powerful for people across the country to be able to experience this rare event with reverence and reflection, instead of trivializing it (and eating...bananas)? I'd certainly value and respect a brand who helps make that possible.
Speaking of helping, rental cars in high-demand locations are triggering Uber-like price gouging. Sure, demand is through the roof, but where is the company that anticipates such a crunch and brings in additional inventory from other areas to make it possible, instead of prohibitive, for last-minute travelers to experience the eclipse? Or maybe arranges for buses or shuttles to get travelers where they need to go? That's the kind of timely and helpful marketing I would love to see more of (especially in the shockingly un-customer-centric rental car business).
CONTENT THAT CLARIFIES
In the helpful vein, I am grateful to the American Astronomical Society and Soluna for making it extremely easy to verify the authenticity and safety of eclipse glasses in the wake of counterfeit items being sold on Amazon.
Soluna added a prominent section to their home page with images and callouts to distinguish their products from the counterfeit ones.
As for the companies producing those bogus eclipse glasses: seriously, how can they sleep at night?
I love how airlines and cruise lines are offering one-of-a-kind voyages that follow the path of the eclipse. Viewers can get up above the clouds for an extended viewing on Alaska's "Great American Eclipse" charter flight. (They also held a contest to offer two free seats on the flight.)
As for Royal Caribbean lining up Bonnie Tyler to sing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as the moon passes over the sun? Gimmicky, yes....but also kind of genius.
I'd love to hear your Eclipse 2017 marketing hits and misses in the comments!