Marketing in the Moment: 5 Top Examples of Reactive Marketing

July 2, 2013

Written by Glossary Author

Reactive marketing is a process of tailoring content at a single moment. When the opportunity knocks, brands have to be reactive to frame their content around unplanned circumstances. Reactive marketing generates incredible engagement for brands who join the conversation on what’s trending in social media. 

We’ve covered reactive marketing before on our blog both here and here, but trends have evolved further since then. Brands have become more adaptable and are even quicker on their feet than before, supplying us with quality campaigns that find success on all socials. Let’s take a look at some recent reactive media successes. 

Aldi and #FreeCuthbert

In April of 2021, Aldi came under significant fire when Mark & Spencer’s took them to court over a caterpillar cake. Yes, you read that right, a caterpillar cake. Mark & Spencer claimed that Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake was too similar to Marks & Spencer’s original Colin the Caterpillar. Instead of privately settling the matter, Aldi’s marketing team jumped on the opportunity to trend on socials, starting a #FreeCuthbert hashtag. By creating memes and using common M&S slogans, Aldi took Twitter by storm and trended for an entire weekend.

They stayed true to their brand and received support from various celebrities and other brands. They even got a response from the Mark & Spencer social team. It was a masterclass in quickly bringing light to a ridiculous situation. 

Henri Vezina

At the height of COVID-19, Canadian clothing brand Henri Vezina launched a humorous clothing line to truly embody what working from home is. The brand not only cut the cost of their business clothing in half, literally cut the business clothing in half. With virtual meetings and lack of commute, this campaign was a great example of adapting to life’s rapid changes and reaching customers in alternate ways.

Henri Vezina


Weetabix terrified everybody when they unveiled their idea of Weetabix + Heinz Beans collab back in February of 2021. Tagging the victims themselves, Weetabix caused quite a stir on socials, garnering reactions from brands like Tesco, Nando’s, and even Pfizer. This classic take on British humor was a successful social stunt pulled by Weetabix. It was a brilliant idea, as not only did they cause their own brand to trend, but they started conversations with multiple other UK competitors and friends.

Ikea and Cristiano

Ikea scored quite a goal after capitalizing on Ronaldo’s Euro chirp at Coca Cola. Like we wrote about here, soccer superstar Critiano Ronaldo publicly hid the advertised Coca Cola bottles and urged the public to “drink water” in a press conference at the Euro 2020 games. Ikea Canada quickly reacted, announcing a ‘Cristiano’ bottle which was marketed explicitly for water.

Ikea and Cristiano ad

A simple yet commanding way of getting the public’s attention. Well done, Ikea. 

Heineken and Squid Game

Korean Netflix drama Squid Game took the world by storm in 2021 and brands were quick to use it to their advantage.

One of the most popular scenes of the series involves players cutting out a shape in Dalgona candy with a needle. Contestants had to pick from either a circle, triangle, star or umbrella and to cut out the shape without it breaking or face being eliminated (aka killed). With a star as their main logo, Heineken used the campaign as a way to advertise their beer as “the best pick.” 

These are only a few brands who stayed on top of their game to create meaningful campaigns. If your brand is looking for a way to be more reactive, follow these tips: 

What to remember:

  1. Keep a pulse on what’s moving the needle on social media. While most of the day’s news will seem like noise, it’s vital to stay aware of potential marketing opportunities as they arise. Our content discovery and media monitoring tool, Spike, is ideal for this.
  2. Brevity is the soul of wit. Keep your message concise and easy to understand.
  3. Seek to entertain. Reactive marketing often goes hand-in-hand with humor, and most people naturally want to laugh.

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