Timing in marketingTiming is everything in marketing – just ask Budweiser. This week it unveiled its latest TV advert, a 40-second clip of UFC fighter Conor McGregor, just a couple of days after he suffered a shock defeat to underdog Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

Upon being uploaded to YouTube, the advert – promoting the Budweiser Dream Big competition – swiftly spread across social media with people quick to comment on the ill-judged timing of the ad.

Teams and individuals inevitably suffer losses over the course of their season or career, but it was the manner of McGregor’s defeat that saw Budweiser’s ad initially sit a little awkwardly.

McGregor had given the impression that defeat to Diaz was impossible – as fighters and boxers tend to do – and you really believed him, as did the bookmakers.

This, alongside the ad content itself (McGregor talking about ‘dreaming big’), is perhaps why Budweiser took a bit of ribbing with the ad when it was released into the world on Monday (7 March).

However, the ad is constructed cleverly enough for there to be a counter argument that, in fact, the video is actually perfectly timed.

McGregor, who won and unified the UFC Featherweight Championship in December, was fighting in the Welterweight division for the first time. Yes, he ultimately lost, but the fact he took the fight on backs up his remark in the Budweiser video that “If your dream doesn’t scare you, then it’s not big enough”.

Perhaps, then, the video – which has over 150,000 YouTube views at the time of writing – is not the marketing misstep we first thought?

Presumably Budweiser recorded the ad prior to his fight with Diaz in the expectation that the he would win the fight, and the video would be released in a blaze of glory. It wasn’t to be, but Budweiser chose to run the video anyway. Why? Because it knew that McGregor’s narrative was so strong – ordinary man done well – that regardless of the result, the video about taking chances to achieve your dream would stand up well.

The comments underneath the video suggest that the ad is anything but mistimed. “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][The advert] Turned out to be a perfect response to his haters after 196,” said one viewer.

Maybe there’s a marketing lesson to be learned here. That lesson being that we must ensure our content is not too reliant on external factors to flourish. It also means the process of creating and posting content must be swift, with topics that are on-point and relevant right now. If your content is mistimed or out of date, your brand will likely have that tag attached to it, and people simply won’t bother to read what you have to say.

All that said, perhaps Budweiser just got lucky…[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Ben Hollom

March 11, 2016