It was the battery brand heard ’round the nation Wednesday night, and not one Energizer or Eveready marketing representative seized the opportunity.
In one of the most lighthearted moments of the Republican presidential debate on CNN, candidates were asked what their Secret Service code name would be if elected president. Jeb Bush answered: “Eveready. It’s very high energy, Donald.”
It was a clever comeback to an ongoing Donald Trump criticism that Bush is low on energy.
Trump’s code name for himself? “Humble.” The two shared an awkward high-five, and the monikers generated a good amount of laughter.
A handful of folks wondered whether Eveready or its parent company, Energizer, might step in to charge up its brand presence on Twitter.
Dear Eveready’s marketing folks — this is your time. #GOPDebate
— Madison Underwood (@MadisonU) September 17, 2015
— Karl Taylor (@karljtaylor) September 17, 2015
In the Twitterverse, it was crickets for Energizer, which hasn’t tweeted since Aug. 3. Eveready? It’s not even on Twitter.
That resulted in some frustration:
Is #EverReady brand seriously not even on Twitter? Sigh.
— Tammy Gordon (@tammy) September 17, 2015
— Jennifer Dorroh (@jendorroh) September 17, 2015
Sandra Gabriel of Gabriel Press & Relationships in Toronto bemoaned the Energizer/Eveready silence as a missed opportunity for real-time marketing.
“They had a mention on a great national program,” Gabriel says. “That’s something they should’ve been all over.”
Still, weighing in during a political debate is a slippery slope, says Ed Salinas of Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia. A brand wouldn’t want to be mistaken for endorsing a particular candidate, unless that business has a partisan leaning.
“Their response could have been a humble, ‘Hey Candidate X, thank you for thinking of us in the debate,'” Salinas says.
Given Energizer’s misstep (or non-step), some social media users tried to do the promotional work for the company.
— Ray (@ontheraydio) September 17, 2015
Seizing moments like these requires close monitoring, and a quick wit helps. Remember Oreo’s viral tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout?
Or how about when Arby’s marketing people were on their toes with this tweet during the 2014 Grammy Awards:
— Arby’s (@Arbys) January 27, 2014
Salinas offers this advice to brands looking to seize such an opportunity: “Just don’t overthink it.”
Eveready wasn’t the only brand that gave us radio silence despite being mentioned during the debate.
Scott Walker said his Secret Service code name would be “Harley;” Marco Rubio chose “Gator,” a nod to the University of Florida; Ted Cruz chose “Cohiba,” a cigar brand; and perhaps Mike Huckabee gave a quack-out to “Duck Dynasty” when he said his code name would be “Duck Hunter.”
Perhaps the responses flew under the radar. PR Daily readers, please sound off in the comments section if you found winning social media responses from these brands during the debate.