Nando’s Real-Time ‘Fergie-Time’ Newsjacking Tweet

The real-time marketing trend goes on and this week’s stand out piece of digital opportunism came from restaurant brand Nando’s in response to the news of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.


As the greatest manager of his era, perhaps of all time, brings to an end his reign at Old Trafford, quick witted marketers at Nando’s came up with a fast response Twitter-led micro-campaign.


Twitter was certainly the appropriate medium for the theme. After all, within 8 minutes of the official retirement announcement it was the number 1 global trend on the microblogging site and within three hours there had been 140,000 uses of the #thankyousiralex hashtag.


So, in the early afternoon after the news broke, Nando’s official Twitter account tweeted:


“In honour of Sir Alex Ferguson we’re proud to introduce #NandosFergieTime – all our Manchester Nando’s will be open 5 minutes later tonight.”


Nando’s also updated it’s website opening hours details for its Manchester branches accordingly – citing “#NandosFergieTime”.


The stunt was also covered on the brand’s own blog.


The FergieTime reference, is, of course, a tribute to the supposed favourable extra injury time Manchester United have benefited from at Old Trafford during Ferguson’s 26-years as manager.


Within 30 minutes the tweet had racked up 6,000 retweets and after five hours the post had received an impressive 14,272 retweets and had been favourited 3,142 times.




This is an example of a real-time response with an actual relevant brand benefit attached – albeit not much of one.


Jumping on the newsjacking bandwagon? Probably!


But funny nevertheless.


And it certainly ticked the ‘relevance’ box and drove brand coverage across the UK media and international marketing press.


In addition to the official PR earned, the stunt is being widely shared online and via word of mouth.


Perhaps the cleverest feat is to please Utd fans by marking the occasion, without annoying City fans who often poke fun at Fergie time.


A rare feat, last achieved by Betfair’s 2011 ‘Trash Your Tevez Shirt’ stunt (see previous case study).


It certainly seemed to gain more traction than any of the club’s official sponsors’ reactions – although the news did  prompt a whirl of brand activity across digital channels from both current partners and brands that have relationships with the club during Ferguson’s reign.


For example, former club sponsor Umbro, which was the club’s kit manufacturer between 1992 and 2002, took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today to ask fans to choose their favourite club shirt over the period.


While Sharp Electronics, the club’s shirt sponsor between 1982 and 2000, also paid tribute by simply wishing Ferguson “Happy retirement” on Twitter.


Nike, the club’s current  kit supplier, released an official statement saying: “Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest managers the game has ever seen and he will be greatly missed by all of the Nike employees who have been lucky enough to work with him during the last 10 years.


“We’re sad to see him stepping down from his role as Manchester United manager, but we’re delighted that he will remain at the club as a director and ambassador.”


Thomas Cook, the club’s official travel partner, and Aon, the current shirt sponsor, also put out official statements paying tribute to Ferguson.


As for how the club itself dealt with the story, Manchester United issued an official statement to the New York Stock Exchange and broke new news on its official Twitter feed using the hashtag #thankyousiralex.


Within an hour of the news breaking, there had been 1.4 million mentions of it on Twitter


Utd also offered supporters a chance to pen their own eulogies to Ferguson via Facebook and said that the best of the messages would be put into a special book for the retiring manager.




Nandos Website



Nados Twitter



Nando’s Blog



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