Ad Displacement: The Coup d’état of Marketing Strategy

coup d’état

noun \ˌkü-(ˌ)dā-ˈtä, ˈkü-(ˌ)dā-ˌ, -də-\

Definition: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially :  the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group

Last night we saw host Ellen DeGeneres consistently using the Samsung Galaxy Note to live tweet the Oscars, take selfies, and post an impromptu group photo of celebrities that was retweeted 1.3 million times overtaking President Obama’s record during his 2012 reelection.

Multi-billion dollar companies such as Samsung use lead scoring about which you can read in-depth on Salesforce, to find the most efficient way of marketing based on various scores and statistics collected and analysed which is why probably the marketing team behind the Samsung product placement was likely sitting back in their chairs with wide Cheshire grins. “Look at how many people we put this product in front of. Ellen is using it as a prop on live television in front of millions. This is brilliant.”

According to analysis done by big data content marketing platform Kontera, Samsung was mentioned 40,000 times across Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks during ABC’s Oscar telecast. At its peak, Samsung saw 900 mentions per minute because of the ad buy.

While this “power move” by Samsung did get the brand in front of millions of viewers it lacked any true marketing strategy.

What is the assumed customer journey with this ad buy exactly?

1. Potential customer sees Ellen using product

2. Potential customer sees Ellen using product…more

3. Potential customer sees Samsung’s “You need to See This” television ad

3. Potential customer orders the Galaxy Note

How likely is that to happen?

Even with a few additional customer touch points it lacks any quantifiable strategy. It’s the “let’s get 100,000 Likes on Facebook” strategy of television advertising.

Coming from Samsung, a 14th ranked Fortune Global 500 company with $178 billion in revenue, one would expect more.

But what about that French word?

What was it…the coop de tat?

Coo day tah?


The Oscars Coup d’état: Part 1


Gizmodo quickly realized that Ellen’s tweets were coming from her own iPhone. Also known as “Not the Samsung Galaxy Note”.

Rule #1 in product placement: make sure the person uses your product

Rule #2 in product placement: make sure the person does not use your competitor’s product

There is no Rule #3.

When a marketing move is part of a larger, well thought-out, strategy this isn’t an issue. Athletes have contracts that state they must only use certain products and not their competitor’s. Years ago there was even a rumor going around that Bill Gates wouldn’t let his children use iPods when they first came out – they could only use Microsoft Zunes.

It just makes sense from a brand messaging standpoint to cover your bases. If you don’t, it opens the door for your competitor to run with it as part of a new marketing campaign. For more marketing information and guidance visit this site.

Which is a nightmare for your brand.

Which brings us to…

The Oscars Coup d’état: Part 2


Another fun idea from the host of the Oscars: ask the celebrities in the audience how hungry they are. Make a few jokes about ordering a pizza. Then order a pizza and have it delivered on live television. Who does that? Ellen. Because she understands the power of social media and how to harness it.

Great idea. No one expected it would actually happen. It’s like a magic trick. The pledge, the turn, and the prestige.

It was all laughter for the audience and viewers. Unless you worked for one of the Oscars largest sponsors: Pepsi.

AdAge was quick to point out that this unexpected stunt showcased Coca-Cola. It was easy to miss for some. See that Coke red pizza box? Coke red hat? The Coke typography that reads “Coca-Cola” on the side of the pizza box? Yeah.

The direct competitor to someone that paid a large sum of money to be a headlining sponsor to your event. A sponsor that  ran a highly visible campaign for its mini-cans. A campaign that produced the highest spike in Twitter activity for the night.



How to perform your own competitor Coup

I’ve begun labeling this accidental marketing placement as Ad Displacement.

Typically, companies will purchase ad placement on websites, radio, print, or television. Much like Samsung and Pepsi did during the Oscars. It’s expensive. It’s part of a campaign that is generally well thought out.

How do you disrupt those campaigns without spending an incredible amount of money?

In Freudian psychology, displacement is considered an unconscious defense mechanism where your mind substitutes a new point of interest.

That’s where the term Ad Displacement comes from. It’s the act of disrupting focus from your competitor and shifting it toward your business or your product.

While the examples above were completely accidental, here are a few ideas on performing your own Ad Displacement strategy:

Your competitor hosts, or sponsors, an event.
Spend a fraction of the money by covering the cost of event lanyards. Many events offer this as a sponsorship package and your logo will be front-and-center in a place that everyone looks throughout the event.

Your competitor has more recognition than you do online.
Let’s imagine you run an ecommerce site that offers the same equipment that a place like or offers. It’s nearly impossible to dethrone them. Why not purchase keywords for your competitor’s products and offer the same products at a cheaper cost. To take it another step further use your competitor’s name as the discount code. If you plan out the customer journey well enough, each time they think of your competitor they will remember entering the discount code on your website for a better rate. So, each time the competitor advertises you displace their message and the consumer’s mind recalls your own.

Have you tried similar strategies? Comment below and tell me how they worked for you.


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