After Louis Vuitton’s new social media post with footballers, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo went viral, the brandverse went gaga over the two arch-rivals coming together. This iconic FIFA World Cup collaboration presented brands with the perfect opportunity for moment marketing — where companies or advertisers passed off a link with the celebrities to gain visibility and traction.
To leverage the moment, some brands made Messi and Cristiano debate about pudina vs dhaniya, while some showed them enjoying a cup of tea together. The moment was plastered across social media platforms.
However, a few social media users asked an important question – doesn’t it violate copyright guidelines? Later, after these speculative comments, Zomato deleted its post depicting the footballers sharing a cup of tea.
In the past as well, a few brands have landed into trouble for not following the copyright rules while engaging in moment marketing. It was after ace shuttler PV Sindhu won a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and many brands congratulated her by using her name and pictures without consent. This resulted in Sindhu sending notices to 15 companies.
Other celebrities such as Sachin Tendulkar and Shah Rukh Khan have got their names trademarked, and Kareena Kapoor has registered her signature as a trademark.
Moment marketing has become a vital marketing tool that brands of all sizes and kinds have used to increase their reach. Time and again, brands have crossed the line and used a celebrity’s picture without their consent to piggyback on their success.
This brings us back to the old debate on the legalities of moment marketing and where to draw the line between infringing upon celebrities’ rights and taking advantage of a moment.
Shradha Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO – Grapes says, “There is a thin line to harnessing the benefits of moment marketing rightly. For instance, backing up an organic post, content, or any other event is called a ‘smart approach.’ However, when the intention is to focus on the celebrity, athlete, or any other famous person who has been in the news for some event/affair, and then brands attempt to take a free ride on the success is not an upright thing to follow.”
Agarwal says such practices take the gimmicky turn when you want to latch on to the popularity of the celebrity and make it branded content without taking an ethical way of approach.
She shared a thumb rule that brands can follow. “While indulging in moment marketing, brands need to be cautious of not being opportunistic while riding the trend. Creatively indicating the trend without directly highlighting the personality or product can help in practicing ethical moment marketing,” said Agarwal.
Unauthorized usage of any celebrity’s images by brands invites scrutiny. One of the few brands that did not rush into joining the Louis Vuitton moment was the digital wallet brand PhonePe. It made a caricature of footballers Lionel and Cristiano, conserving the context of the social media moment.
A post shared by PhonePe (@phonepe)
So, while engaging in moment marketing, Vivek Kumar Anand, Director – Business & Innovation, DViO Digital said that deceiving is the keyword and a thin line that marketers should be aware of.
“Creating content around trending topics is great to leverage the surge of the #tag and searches, but if it deceives people into believing that the brand is associated with that celebrity or event in any way when it is not, it is incorrect. Instead, ride the trend to create a dialogue with your audience rather than be opportunistic,” said Kumar.
Kumar reminded that there are many legal implications if it falls in the zone of deceiving and not entertaining, such as the Trade Marks Act, 1999, Personality Rights, and the violation of Point 1.3 of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) code.
For the uninitiated, the ASCI code explicitly states, “Advertisements shall not, without permission from the person, firm or institution under reference, contain any reference to such person, which confers an unjustified advantage on the product advertised or tends to bring the person, firm or institute into ridicule or disrepute…”
While moment marketing offers brands an inexpensive option and generates conversations, it comes with the possibility of exploitation and misuse.
Sharing a few important guidelines to keep in mind, Neha Puri – Founder and CEO at Vavo Digital said, “Always choose events that support your business or company’s mission, basic values, and marketing aims and objectives. If you overuse moment marketing, you run the risk of becoming predictable. When promoting a brand or cause, refrain from exploiting tragic events or divisive issues at the expense of your audience, both current and future. Do not plagiarise marketing content or resources from other businesses or brands. Your messaging and copies need to be both original and funny to prevent getting lost in the din of a conversation.”
When it comes to moment marketing, there is a lot of clutter now. Brands must not rush into joining the moment, compromise on sharing quality content, and choose their moments.
“Marketers need to be mindful of checking the topic for its authenticity and sentimentality before hopping onto it. If gone wrong can backfire massively. Only some moments need to be leveraged blindly. Create content and not clutter,” said Kumar.
In a flick of a few seconds, the sentiment on social media can change.
Puri said, “The feedback from your audience must be addressed immediately. Construct and sustain discussions. Create engaging print materials or web content to achieve these goals. Also, timing is everything. Avoid publishing too soon. Posting after Midnight is prohibited. It’s important to remember that this tactic seized the chance when it presented itself. Last but not least, avoid being exploitative in general. Specifically, ensure your message comes from an open source.”
Moment marketing is fleeting, said Puri, but extremely beneficial if done rightly.