With Web Summit founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave now beating a hasty retreat from Dublin to Portugal, leaving a whiff of cordite in his wake, one of the brands that did garner many positive vibes during the week was Independent.ie.
Spotting an opportunity to curry favour with the many disgruntled delegates who were shocked at what their €20 food vouchers actually got them, the team in Talbot Street HQ used it as an opportunity to engage with them in a fun and relevant way.
“Having identified that attendees would have to pay an additional €20 to get their lunch in the Food Summit this year, we predicted that there would be public unease about this and there was an opportunity to keep these attendees happy by providing free lunch outside the RDS,” says Lia Bresnihan, head of digital marketing with Indepenent.ie.
With over 50,000 tweets using #websummit each day of the Web Summit, she adds that independent.ie planned to stand out by joining another conversation. The marketing team monitored social media and early on Day 1 the backlash began on Twitter. Independent.ie introduced the #Foodgate hashtag from unbranded accounts. Quickly the hashtag grew, and at that point the brand stepped in with content created specific to this audience.
Having planned for this real time marketing campaign, the independent.ie team were based in the office monitoring the conversation reacting as the mood and tone changed on social media.
She says that on the second day of the Web Summit, the team was told to vacate the RDS area but undeterred it re-located to other areas, Tweeting details of the location as the day went on while encouraging people to follow them on Twitter. The team also ran a competition for companies to get a free lunch delivered to their office.
Supported by comments on Twitter, independent.ie also donated free lunch to all visitors to the Capuchin Day Centre, a homeless shelter that day.
In terms of the results the #Foodgate hashtag trended on Day 1 with several other brands jumping on the hashtag, and the story was featured by all major publishers as their top news item. The hashtag had an estimated reach of 323,720 from 89 contributors, gaining over 1 million impressions, Independent.ie was the top contributor with over 900,000 impressions.