Many timely opportunities to increase exposure for one's business, service, or message exist by using the latest current news and events. Web surfers want entertainment, information, and/or answers when they are online. If they can get all of these things in one place, it's a home run. Using a news story that is a hot topic, and putting a unique, branded spin on it, can yield fantastic rapid results. Think of the recent incidents that have occurred and look at what the trendsetters have done to take advantage of the "worldwide stage".
Remember Mr. Ted Williams, aka Mr. Golden Voice himself? Do you recall the number of companies, and organization that "offered" him employment when he became a world-wide sensation?? From GE, to the Cleveland Cavaliers, (of course Oprah & Barbara Walters) and beyond, were having their name mentioned whenever a story was done about him, for a good period of time. These brands were willing to "take a chance" on being associated with a homeless drug addict, to help keep their name in the public's mind.
Taking a closer look, it was way more clever than risky. This was true feel-good story that propelled this man from obscurity to international fame in a day, seemingly. It came at a time when there were nothing but stories of recession, downsizing, and depression everywhere. So, each of the brands that were mentioned in the same segment as him were seen as community heroes, good guys, and so on. Some may say that is being an opportunist, and I would say that is true for the most part.
Though first let's review the actual meaning. It has mainly been used negatively, and it has taken some the potency of the true word. There are a number of varied definitions for the opportunist, though I like this one "A seeker of opportunity. A person who maximizes his/her benefit in every action he/she takes." Isn't that what MOST successful brands do to get their word out? Anybody know about Super Bowl? If that is not maximizing the most time for current news and events, I mean really!
If you are doing something that IS good for the majority, why not get the best possible platform for your "advertisement". Most of us cannot afford $3 million, an arm, leg, and whatever else they charge for a 30 second spot for the Super Bowl. On the other hand, it is possible with a limited budget, to create brand awareness, by piggybacking the right story or theme.
Actually on that note, have you noticed what Doritos has done for the last 3 years with their SuperBowl commercials? They have had a contest open to anyone that has an idea and a video camera. So, they can offer up a little cash, the one in a trillion chance to have your spot shown by millions, and thousands of hopefuls spend MILLIONS on....Doritos, to make their commercials. Genius! The company (Pepsi/Frito Lay) gets their product out amongst much desired demo (18-35 guys), and beyond, for a solid 3 months. In the end, they get a quality ad for cheap, that is not only relevant (chosen Partially by voters), it allowed them to sell product BEFORE and AFTER the Super Bowl, (their targeted campaign).
Did you get ALL of that? I personally know production crews that would buy over a case of Doritos, just to make the spot, that would not even make the top 10,000th list. But do the math on all the others, and then they always get one that gives them play long after the Super Bowl is over. Do you still view the word 'opportunists' negatively now??
There are so many other examples I could give, from Tide offering "free laundry services" to the victims of Katrina, to the companies that gave the Chilean Miners great gifts. Hire an "out-of the box-ad creator" to help launch your brand into the world-wide exchange spotlight or not, others will continue use a current news and events to keep their revenue coming in.