ESPN AirDrop Marketing
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Is iOS AirDrop Marketing a Creepy Tactic or a Unique Opportunity?

Weekly content marketing news for freelancers Some of the most intriguing content marketing and content creation tactics are often right in front of us — even though it might take some time for us to notice. The good news is that Content Radar is here to cut through the noise, then bring them to you weekly.

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Did ESPN just discover a new way to market to nearby audiences?

For the grizzled marketing veteran, being surprised by a marketing technique is rare. Sure, some brands are using existing channels in creative ways, but even then, the tactics are often tried and true. Every so often, though, a brand does something that calls attention to itself and opens up creative possibilities for other brands.

The most recent example of this comes from a test completed by the ESPN marketing team. During the NBA Finals, members of the marketing team strolled around locations in New York City and sent promotional AirDrop photos to unsuspecting bystanders on their iPhones.

ESPN AirDrop Marketing
source: Adweek

For example, a man sitting on a park bench received a photo of LeBron James with the accompanying text of “Enjoying a rest on the bench? LeBron isn’t.” A woman looking at a fountain received a photo of Kevin Durant with accompanying text that read “Sure, that fountain is nice. But game 2 of the Finals is right now.”

AirDrop marketing ideas

According to ESPN, the marketing stunt was completed for “learning purposes.” Certainly, ESPN has methods to reach much larger audiences, but is it possible the company has opened up the door for some smaller businesses to use AirDrop in creative ways? Consider the possibilities:

  • A restaurant manager sends out an AirDrop notice to patrons to let them know that appetizers are 50 percent off for the next 30 minutes.
  • An employee at a manned booth at a trade show sends AirDrop photos to passersby to let them know more about the company or service he represents.
  • Instead of handing out flyers, an employee walks around a public park sending AirDrop photos to park-goers as they stroll along.

The possibilities are limited only by your creativity (and by the 30-foot distance you need to be within to share something with another on AirDrop), but just because you can do something, does that mean you should do it?

Creepy or creative? 

There is little question that using AirDrop could lead to some creative opportunities to connect with a potential audience, but do you run the risk of alienating an audience who finds it creepy that you are able to send them these messages without them opting in to receive anything from your company?

Does ESPN AirDrop marketing cross the line?

InMoment’s 2018 CX Trends Report found that 3 in 4 people say that many forms of marketing personalization are “creepy.” The same report also found that about half of individuals still continue to shop with a brand after a “creepy” marketing experience, however 22 percent say they actively seek out another brand after a creepy experience.

Of course, what is defined as “creepy” is subjective. Perhaps Marketing expert Scott Galloway said it best when he defined creepy this way: “‘Creepy’ is synonymous in the marketing world with ‘relevant.'”

Editor’s note: The tactics of ESPN’s campaign are questionable. ClearVoice does not condone AirDrop trolling, stalking, or this kind of invasive marketing.

Is ESPN condoning 'marketing stalkers' with its recent AirDrop stunt during the NBA Finals? #digitalmarketing #ethics @ESPN Click To Tweet

 

Content Radar

A new report shows millennials (52%) and Gen Xers (48%) are more likely to shop with retailers who align with their values. On the other hand, only about 35% of baby boomers said it was important to them that retailers align with their values.

Content Radar

Reddit announced that it is rolling out in-stream, autoplay video ads. Reddit is now the third-most visited site in the United States, garnering more traffic than Facebook and Amazon.

Content Radar

Gen Z may be migrating away from social media. A report from market research group Origin shows that a third of Gen Z is deleting its social media accounts and nearly 2/3 are taking social media breaks. The report details that Gen Z is finding social media to be negative, and a waste of time. The long-term future of Gen Z on social media remains to be seen.

Content Radar

Facebook is now letting readers of Instant Articles know how long it will take to read them. The estimated read time appears just next to the link to the article in the news feed.

 

Chad Buleen

About Chad

Chad Buleen is an award-winning journalist, the manager of social messaging for a large international nonprofit, a digital media enthusiast and father of four. Follow him on Twitter .

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