Remember last week when Facebook and Instagram were down for 6 hours? I had a very productive afternoon that day!

Meanwhile, another company was using the opportunity to sell their environmentally sustainable kelp burgers (which I’ve ordered a few times–they’re actually quite delicious). I received this email from Akua:

I was struck by the sheer cleverness of this ad. First, they sent it by email, knowing that people were more focused on email without Facebook and Instagram available. Second, they added a sense of urgency to the offer–the code only worked until Facebook was back online. Third, there was a touch of humor to the ad–kelp burgers have nothing to do with Instagram, but why not?

The ad is built around a very specific situation that Akua couldn’t have planned for, but I was impressed by how quickly they acted. It also gave me even greater appreciation for e-newsletters–if your website or social media crash, you still have a reliable way to directly connect with your followers. Ironically, though, Instagram would be my go-to choice for a spur-of-the-moment ad, as I only send our e-newsletter once a month!

Akua also made me realize the value of sometimes acting in the moment for special promotions. Trends and newsworthy topics are fleeting in this era of social media, so you may only have a few days or hours.

And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a special offer–a meme, statement of values, or an infographic can be effective as well. Anything that’s tied to the trend of the moment.

I should note that there’s a slippery slope to this strategy. For example, when tragedy strikes, it’s not appropriate to post a silly ad with any connection the strategy.

Have you ever seen an effective use of spur-of-the-moment marketing? I’d love to hear some other examples in the comments below.

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