going 'rogue': researchers discover viral trend in global marketing
Larry Sharpe signing whiteboard for White Claw Hard Seltzer. Credit: Dennis Consorte, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Taylor, director of the beverage management program in the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership, watched in awe as sales of White Claw skyrocketed seemingly overnight in the summer of 2019.

As a new entry in the relatively unknown hard seltzer category, it was completely unexpected and had virtually nothing to do with the company’s own marketing strategy. White Claw’s rapid success was due, almost entirely, to a social media influencer.

“He came up with a slogan, ‘ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws’, and it took off from there,” said Taylor, a Hilton College associate professor. “The last thing a company wants is their alcoholic product associated with law breaking, but it started selling out everywhere.”

The influencer, with millions of followers, flooded social airwaves with the slogan, even putting it on T-shirts. It created a fervor for a product that wasn’t on the radar of the beverage industry at all. Demand went through the roof and soon White Claw was selling out everywhere.

Taylor had never seen anything like it. Neither had anyone else, for that matter. He, along with Hilton College researchers Cortney Norris and Scott Taylor Jr., set out to research and explain this new phenomenon they dubbed “rogue marketing.”

According to the researchers, rogue marketing occurs when an unaffiliated individual creates and posts an informal message about a brand on social media that becomes viral. Although the post is not funded or endorsed by the company that owns the brand, the viral status provides free and unexpected advertising.

In a study published in the International Journal of Wine Business Research, the team surveyed 210 people who couldn’t tell a significant difference whether a message they were seeing came from the company or an influencer. That means companies will have to account for rogue marketing in their business strategies, according to the researchers.

“I think it’s something companies actually have to consider now in their marketing plans,” said Taylor. “They’ll have to talk about how to monitor it and counter it, if necessary.”

From 2018 to 2019, low-alcohol, low-calorie hard seltzers saw a nearly 200% increase in sales worth almost a half-billion dollars. At the time, the main reason for their popularity was the ready-to-drink cocktails provided greater convenience and gave consumers the freedom to enjoy a cocktail without being confined to a bar.

Then the influencer dropped his slogan and sparked a 1000% increase in sales in a matter of months. Something outside the company was driving sales, and while it wasn’t the way that company wanted to go, the growth and profits were staggering.

“It was this little product that nobody thought anything about until this rogue marketing happened,” Chris Taylor said. “And they’re still here today. Every producer, from Shiner to Anheuser Busch, has five different brands of hard seltzer. It’s so inundated into the market now.”

Rogue marketing is impacting the luxury car industry as well. Influencers on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are making flashy cars a part of their brand and it’s causing problems for companies that are not targeting that audience.

“Ferrari is having a really difficult time because they have a lot of rules when someone buys a car, like you can’t paint it,” Taylor said. “But these YouTubers and Instagrammers are wrapping the cars, putting inappropriate markings on them, and it’s really changing how people see these brands.”

Taylor says a company’s name and brand equity, built over years through carefully cultivated messaging, is everything. When the brand is damaged by external forces beyond its control, it can do irreparable harm to the company’s long-term bottom line despite the short-term profits.

While the Hilton College team was the first to identify and research the rogue marketing phenomenon, they believe it’s just a framework for future studies to truly understand its positive and negative impacts.

“We’ve just scratched the surface with this exploratory study,” said Taylor. “But with the explosion of social media influencers, it’s truly a worldwide trend that I believe is here to stay.” More information: Cortney L. Norris et al, What is rogue marketing? An exploration of how hard seltzer sparked a social media phenomenon, International Journal of Wine Business Research (2021). DOI: 10.1108/IJWBR-02-2021-0008 Provided by University of Houston Citation: Going ‘rogue’: Researchers discover viral trend in global marketing (2022, October 5) retrieved 5 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-rogue-viral-trend-global.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

AI is rewriting the rules of creativity. What does that mean for human imagination?

For the first time in human history, we can give machines a simple written or spoken prompt and they will produce original creative artefacts – poetry, prose, illustration, music – with infinite variation. With disarming ease, we can hitch our imagination to computers, and they can do all the ...

View more: AI is rewriting the rules of creativity. What does that mean for human imagination?

How independent voters saved Democrats

Democrats would not have had such a good election night without the support of independent voters. These mystical swing voters don’t affiliate themselves with a specific party, tend to be more ideologically moderate, and represent a plurality of voters in the United States. But they are also hard to ...

View more: How independent voters saved Democrats

iPhone is not as secure as Apple claims

Data privacy has long been a priority for Apple. But, two developers have provided new information that calls into doubt the iOS privacy statement. It turns out that the Cupertino giant’s claims are not always accurate. iPhone gathers owner information The Directory Service Identifier, or DSID for short, is at ...

View more: iPhone is not as secure as Apple claims

Google's Project Zero Team warns of gap in Android Security updates

Representative image. Google’s team of security researchers called Project Zero has said Android models from various manufacturers are vulnerable to flaws that are now months old. Security researcher Jann Horn found five exploitable vulnerabilities in the ARM Mali GPU driver, and they affected all Android smartphones with a Mali GPU. ...

View more: Google's Project Zero Team warns of gap in Android Security updates

100+ Amazon Black Friday Deals Still Going Strong Ahead of Cyber Monday

Amazon has switched focus to Cyber Monday, but most of its Black Friday deals are still up for grabs.

View more: 100+ Amazon Black Friday Deals Still Going Strong Ahead of Cyber Monday

Best Cyber Monday Headphones and Earbuds Deals: Save Big on AirPods, Sony, Bose, Jabra and More

Looking for the best Cyber Monday 2022 headphones and earbuds deals? These are our top picks for the best offers available right now.

View more: Best Cyber Monday Headphones and Earbuds Deals: Save Big on AirPods, Sony, Bose, Jabra and More

'World's oldest meal' discovered by scientists. Why it matters

(Image credit: Australian National University) Scientists have found traces of the “world’s oldest meal” in a species dating back 575 million years, a discovery they said sheds light on how our earliest animal ancestors functioned. A team from the Australian National University studied Ediacaran period-fossils retrieved from Russia and ...

View more: 'World's oldest meal' discovered by scientists. Why it matters

70% gamers in India prefer PC gaming over mobile phone, finds HP India study

HP Pavilion Aero 13-be0205AU Smartphone makers better watch out. According to a new study conducted by PC maker HP, 70 percent of Indian gamers prefer gaming on a personal computer rather than a mobile phone. The large percentage skew is due to three main factors. A PC offers more ...

View more: 70% gamers in India prefer PC gaming over mobile phone, finds HP India study

5G rollout to be faster in India, gears from neighbouring countries need more checks: Nokia India

YouTube: a big increase in the number of paid subscribers

Looming Crisis: Alarming Study Shows Significant Decline in Sperm Counts Globally

Five key decisions at global wildlife summit

Costa Rica crocodiles survive in 'most polluted' river

US FCC bans sales, import of Chinese tech from Huawei, ZTE

NASA's Orion capsule enters far-flung orbit around moon

From Meta to Zomato, how India's new online review rules will impact industry

IPO-bound Oyo reports EBITDA of Rs 56 crore in Q2 as per financials submitted to Sebi

Elon Musk has plans to make a smartphone but only if…

ONDC is actively engaging with brands, says DIF head Arvind Gupta

NASA Artemis I – Flight Day 10: Orion Spacecraft Enters Distant Retrograde Orbit

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News