You know, there used to be a time when companies could plan elaborate promotional campaigns and/or product rollouts. Specific actions would be directed to occur at specific times and places, almost like planning a military campaign. Of course, there’s a saying that even the best battle plans rarely survive initial contact with the enemy. Well, what about contact with your friends? Specifically, one’s Facebook friends?
Calvin Ayre has not been shy about celebrating the Bodog brand’s sponsorship of Scottish football squad Ayr United for the 2011-12 season. The enthusiastic welcome Calvin’s received from Ayr supporters via social media has been something to behold, so he was very much looking forward to seeing their reaction when the Bodog brand team unveiled the new ‘Ayre Strip’ kit the football team will wear next season.
This unveiling was supposed to take place on July 25, when the team squares off for the first time against Manchester United XI. Everything was going according to plan until earlier this week, when the accompanying photo first appeared on Facebook. It was immediately circulated by eager Ayr supporters, eventually winding up on Calvin’s personal Facebook page. And just like that, the ‘Dog was out of the bag.
To be clear, Calvin was howling at the way this unfolded, viewing it as testimony to the disruptive power of social media and the perennial phenomenon of ‘shit happens.’ Calvin also loved how some sharp-eyed Ayr fans recognized that the Chinese script above the Bodog logo is the same as the tattoo on his right shoulder (the two characters mean ‘gambling dog’ in Mandarin). But that’s Calvin… How did Ed Pownall, Bodog brand PR chief and the man who’d been carefully choreographing the shirt’s unveiling, take the news?
You know that ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ viral video, where those World of Warcraft guys are calmly itemizing exactly what each of them is expected to do in order to make their mission a success, until Leeroy inexplicably screams out his own name, charges blindly in and renders all their careful planning moot? Yeah, it felt sorta like that.
In order to get the egg (at least, we think that’s egg) off his face, Pownall says the company will “now have to really up the ante for the official launch.” Precisely what Ed’s cooking up remains a secret… at least, until some intrepid Ayr fans start sniffing around.