Shreyas Kulkarni

T20WC: Premium brands may feel FOMO, but is indulging in moment marketing in their best interests?

When they rub shoulders with the hoi polloi of the brand world, they could end up lessening their sophistication and allure.

That brands would descend into a collective meltdown on social media after India won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was a given. India won the bi-annual trophy for the second time after it beat South Africa on June 29, 2024; it won its first T20 World Cup 17 years ago in 2007.

While brands from all categories declared their love for the Indian cricket team, the age-old question of whether every brand should jump on the moment marketing bandwagon reared its head again. Now, there is nothing wrong with moment marketing, but when every second brand does it, there is little to gain in brand engagement or recall.

Adding to this was seeing premium brands participate in this mass hysteria. These are often category leaders in pricing or sales, or through their brand tones, communication or imagery. Fear of missing out (FOMO)? Maybe.

Coffee QSR Starbucks and the energy drink Red Bull, in this case, stood out.

The former is a global powerhouse known for its not-so-affordable beverages and distinct green imagery that sets it apart from its peers across the globe. In India, they are Café Coffee Day, Third Wave Coffee, and other local players.

The latter is a brand associated more with adventure sports than its caffeine liquid and is ahead of its peers in pricing. Red Bull faces stiff competition from value energy drink brands like PepsiCo India’s Sting and Coca-Cola’s Charged by Thums Up.

One expects all massy and young brands to indulge in moment marketing, but seeing premium ones come down and most likely get lost in this game, losing their allure and sophistication, feels odd. The exception to the rule is when condom brand Durex blew apart the competition with its print ad (see below) for Father's Day.

T20WC: Premium brands may feel FOMO, but is indulging in moment marketing in their best interests?

So, we (afaqs!) asked creative and marketing leaders whether premium brands should indulge in moment marketing, and if yes, how to stand out.

Edited Excerpts.

Nikhil Narayanan, head of creative strategy and brand director, Zlade, a personal hygiene brand

T20WC: Premium brands may feel FOMO, but is indulging in moment marketing in their best interests?

Durex can afford to do such a post on Father's Day because it owns it, and the moment is 100% on-brand. It does not jump on every other occasion. But Durex may not fall in the premium category in the true sense of the word.

It's all about identifying the right moment. Everyone wants a piece of the pie when it comes to India winning in cricket.

Whatever you put online, there’s an emotional chord which will strike with someone.

Starbucks can do it too. But it has a certain tone of voice, look and feel, and imagery, which must be adhered to.

You can’t create a post just because everyone else is doing it; it’s pointless, and you will be lost in the clutter. The culture and pressure of being ever-present, part of every conversation, fad... I don’t think it is a good practice for all brands.

Brands can have multiple tones but it shouldn’t be at the cost of the brand’s personality. It's not by moment marketing that you can build a brand. There are exceptions like Zomato. But its audience offers it that liberty.

If a brand feels people will forget about it if it is missing out on an occasion, then it has a bigger problem.

A brand's strategy should not be: they are doing it, so we must do it.

Saurabh Parmar, fractional CMO (ex digital head Ogilvy and CEO Brandlogist and then Cupidly)

T20WC: Premium brands may feel FOMO, but is indulging in moment marketing in their best interests?

So, a brand is defined by what it says and what it chooses not to say, what we call a brand voice. Now the problem in this always-on and fragmented marketing communication space is, as brands, you have to be always on, and from growth marketing to branding, there are multiple divisions of marketing happening.

Both of these have led to this scenario where marketers and social media folk often want to participate in every conversation and hook on to every trend, which is not healthy.

I won't say whether a brand is a premium one or not; I would rather ask, is it contextual or not? So, a Red Bull or a Puma talking about this, about sports, makes sense, but a Starbucks, maybe not.

The basic question is, are they adding any value, is it connecting to what the brand is about? That's what a brand manager or social media manager has to evaluate. If the answer is yes, only then should the brand participate.

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, global CEO and co-founder, Gozoop, a global marketing company

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi
Ahmed Aftab Naqvi

Moment marketing humanises the brand and is one of those rare breeds of content pieces that, if done well, don’t require a media push. However, it is not advisable for every brand to leverage moment marketing unless it can be creatively and tastefully tied back to further its brand love amongst its target audience — jumping on every opportunity for the sake of creating some noise does not help in building a strong brand.

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