I can't believe they got away with that!!

Everything You Need to Know About Reactive Marketing

Something that appears to be popular in marketing this year is the rise in reactive marketing. This lesser-known term refers to when brands engage with their audience through social media almost immediately, reacting to something that is ‘hot news’ in the press. This practice does tend to generate fantastic results, but it’s not without its downfalls. In particular, there are no guarantees for its success.

How You Could Benefit From Reactive Marketing

  • Allows your customers to better relate to your brand.

  • People are more likely to engage with your content

  • Customers react positively to humorous or memorable content

  • Individuals tend to engage more with ‘spur of the moment’ content rather than pre-planned or generic content

  • Content could go ‘viral’, giving your brand mammoth exposure

  • Gives you a chance to make an impression on new customers who’ve never been exposed to your brand

Some of the Dangers of Reactive Marketing

Firstly, due to the random nature of reactive marketing, there are great time restrictions on developing and posting content before it becomes irrelevant. Marketing departments need to be quick on their feet while also being careful what they publish.

Get reactive marketing wrong, and you could have a mutiny on your hands pretty quickly. Before you know it, your brand and reputation could be lying in tatters. So, if you’re unsure of whether to post something, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something seems too controversial to post, offends or seems insensitive, don’t post it.

Try to keep your hashtags relevant. Businesses that use them for the sake of it appear not only desperate but spammy as well.

To achieve success with reactive marketing, make sure your posts are timed well by acting quick.

Getting reactive content right does require some degree of skill and practice. But if you need a step in the right direction, make use of templates, calendars and monitor social media platforms to keep your finger on the pulse.

The Best Examples of Reactive Marketing Out There

If you’re seeking inspiration for your next reactive marketing campaign, take a look at some of the best, most popular reactive campaigns published by these major companies.


Do you recall when Beyonce posted an image of herself sporting her latest garment from her Ivy Park collection? People couldn’t help notice the striking resemblance to that of a Sainsbury’s worker up and down the UK. Soon becoming viral, Sainsbury’s took note and posted their very own spoof with an image of an employee in uniform. Not unlike what you’d expect with an Adidas advert.


Remember when KFC famously ran out of chicken back in early 2018? They had to close loads of restaurants until they sorted the delivery contract with a supplier. Some humour was poked at the situation by KFC themselves as they posted a picture of a chicken bucket resembling their classic logo. Except with one crucial difference: The letters were rearranged to spell ‘FCK’.


Cast your mind back to 2017, and you may remember the embarrassing moment when Faye Dunaway wrongly announced the winner as part of the ‘best picture’ category at the Oscars. Capitalising on this opportunity, Specsavers posted an image of an envelope being revealed behind an Oscar audience backdrop, with the apt slogan ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ imprinted upon it.


Although the UK was set to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019, this didn’t happen. The Marmite marketing team delivered their take on the situation with their post and slogan ‘Hard Breakfast, Soft Breakfast, No Breakfast’ which made light of the situation. The humour was furthered even more with the added line ‘dividing the nation since 1902’.


Back in 2013, Alex Ferguson made the shock and sudden announcement he was retiring from football. To mark this momentous occasion, Nandos took to Twitter to announce they were keeping some stores open an extra five minutes. With an obvious play on the theme of football ‘extra time’.

Innocent Juices

Who can forget the explosive fallout between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy? It all kicked off when Colleen accused Rebekah of leaking her social media feed to the press. This soon led to the #WAGathaChristie hashtag, along with an image of a bottle of juice and the caption ‘the only thing juicier than Coleen v Rebekah’. Although Innocent have a history of humour, this post was particularly popular, sparking 4,000 likes on Insta, 2.8,000 likes on Twitter and 2.5k likes through Facebook.


Back in November 2019, Elon Musk added yet another one of his bizarre posts which related to the launch of the Cyber Truck from Tesla. Attracting much online ridicule, the celebrity backing and odd design caused it to go viral. Prompting multiple spoofs all over the internet. Lego wanted a piece of the action as well, mocking the post through its image of a brick-built car, not dis-similar to Tesla’s original!


Can you remember the horsemeat scandal back in 2013? Mini took a risk with the wording ‘beef, with many horses in it’ to promote its new JCW Roadster. The ad turned out to be a success. So much so that it was even covered in mainstream media.

As you can see there has been a lot of incredibly intelligent and 'on the ball' reactive marketing over the years, we can't wait to see what the next risky example will be!

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