The wildly popular Serial podcast has a lone sponsor, MailChimp, an email marketing service provider. Quartz declared this sponsorship the “year’s biggest marketing win” (AdAge also deemed it a “big win”). Every episode opens with a 20-second ad for the company (listen below or here):
The mispronunciation of the company name as “MailKimp” spawned a popular meme and widespread use of the hashtag #MailKimp when tweeting about Serial. The marketers at MailChimp were savvy enough to buy the domain Mailkimp.com and have it redirect to their website.
Sponsorship of the podcast turned out to be a worthwhile advertising spend for MailChimp that undoubtedly drove a lot of awareness for the company, right? Absolutely, but here’s where MailChimp marketers fell short in their efforts to capitalize on their sponsorship of the breakout hit of 2014 and popularity of #MailKimp:
— Dave Cutler (@CutlerDave) December 19, 2014
The 12/18 season finale of Serial (inarguably the most heavily anticipated podcast episode of all-time) triggered thousands of tweets using #MailKimp, driving millions of impressions. The number of tweets from @MailChimp, leveraging the hashtag and engaging people in conversation? A whopping ZERO. In fact, the account’s only tweets on the day the finale launched were responses to Twitter users with MailChimp support issues. If nothing else, it was an opportunity to showcase the brand’s personality and willingness to poke fun at itself (seemingly a no-brainer for a company with a monkey as its logo).
Better yet, the team at @MailChimp should have seized the real-time marketing opportunity by running Twitter ads sponsoring the hashtag #MailKimp. A good example of this was Chevy’s sponsorship of #TechnologyAndStuff after a snafu by one of their execs during a World Series post-game presentation.
The marketers at MailChimp had a rare opportunity resulting from a confluence of events, a perfect storm of sorts, affording them the opportunity to shoot fish in a barrell and they appear to have left their bullets at home. Overall, a big marketing win for them, but from a social media marketing standpoint, a huge #MissedOpportunity.
(Disclosure: This post was originally published on LinkedIn here: http://linkd.in/1xYbS8U)