Your last-minute guide to Taylor Swifting your PR

Oh, no! Taylor Swift is already in the country, and your international toiletries brand hasn’t moved past a list of song title tie-ins on a white board in planning your killer Taylor content. It’s a red-level, flashing lights emergency.

“All You Had To Do Was Spray” is quickly decided upon for your deodorant’s social media post, and you all high-five and dance in your boardroom to a Taylor Swift song.

Except, it’s not a Taylor Swift song at all. It’s actually Ariana Grande you’re all dancing to – but you don’t know this, and it doesn’t matter, because you don’t actually care about Taylor Swift. This fever will pass. It’s not your fault.

At the moment, there are countless Australians who are fretting about how to artlessly insert their ‘brand’ into the Taylor Goes Australian narrative, because they believe their jobs require them to care. Or, more accurately, someone else higher up thinks they need to be in on this, and so their jobs actually do require them to care. And so, the puns begin. The wrangling of Gen Z employees in the workplace to “blue sky some fun concepts.” The insertion of song titles into news reports, product launches, and even political speeches, it’s all coming hard and fast, and has been for weeks now.

Seven QLD weatherman Michael Auden struck earliest and best, cramming more than 50 Taylor Swift references into a weather report. Thankfully, this wasn’t during one of those ’emergency flood warning’ days.


How many Taylor Swift references can you pack into one weather report? 7NEWS Queensland’s meteorologist Tony Auden has cracked more than 50 as Swiftie mania sweeps Australia. TaylorSwift ErasTour 7NEWS

♬ original sound – 7NEWSAdelaide – 7NEWSAdelaide

Most of the good Taylor puns (or word insertions) were well and truly spent by Super Bowl Sunday (which landed on a Monday here) and still came a few weeks too early. (As Snoopy creator Charles Schultz once said: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”) All the ‘are you ready for its’ had been used and abused and ground into the turf.

So, what else to do? If you leave your brand’s Taylorisation until the very last minute, you may very well end up with ill-considered stunts like the one Twisties pulled yesterday.

Twisties wrote ‘Twifties’ in the Sydney sky yesterday, a portmanteau (what the kids call ‘a sick mash-up’) of Twisties and Swifties that has absolutely no existence in the common parlance, and relied solely on a mental leap that nobody’s brain would logically make – unless it was their job to think about Twisties campaigns all day.

Or unless, they happened to see this photo tying every element of this stunt together.

Which, they didn’t, as this photo was sent to trade media the day after the baffling word, which just looked like an expensive typo, was written in the sky. Plus, a wind-blown T probably warps into an S at some stage anyway.

The whole thing was a Swiftastrophe!

It’s not fair to single out Twisties (by which I mean the Doritos brand, by which I mean PepsiCo, by which I actually mean Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia, the creative agency whose slogan is “we don’t make ads, we crash culture”, and who were behind this stunt).

Everyone’s having a crack. Major corporations, radio stations, morning news presenters, Super Bowl pundits, economists, and aging rock stars have all jumped gracelessly on the Taylor train of late. Most have crashed it into the tunnel – or at least not minded the gap, the gap between their brand and the tour, between genuine Taylor fans and cynical marketing stunts.

In short: everyone has gone fucking mad.

Look at this stunt from Vegemite, executed before Taylor’s Melbourne concerts.

They set this billboard to go live at 10pm, to time creepily with Swift’s jet landing at Tullamarine, so she would see it beam down on her as she arrived in Australia and travelled to her accommodation.

That’s creepy. Beside, the fact that most Americans associate Vegemite not with ‘Australia’ but, instead, with a horribly bad taste left in the mouth, means there may be some unintended messaging here.

But, as for the stunt itself. Vegemite, if you were a human, you’d have a restraining order placed on you quicker than you can say ‘iSnack 2.0.’

There are good examples of Tay-tie-ins. Smirnoff, a more Taylor-aligned brand, released ‘Ice Lavender Lemonade’ – the concept based on the Swift song Lavender Haze, and the product, in actuality, a purple Vodka Cruiser. 

Now, this isn’t a scientific study, but I would wager that more brightly-coloured Vodka Cruisers have been drank to Taylor Swift songs then Vegemite toast listening sessions. This tie in works. In fact, I think if you time your first Cruiser to the start of Welcome To New York, by the end of the 1989 album, you’ll be partying like its 1999 – Prince-purple vodka-vomit and all.

It’s worth noting, also, that none of these tie-ins are actually endorsement deals, or officially sanctioned by Swift.

It’s like Beatlemania in the 1960s – when hundreds of dodgy, unofficial Ringo wigs and Beatle boots flooded the marketplace.

Only, these aren’t dodgy mail order companies. These are major corporations, who are reduced to basically standing out the front of Accor Stadium, shilling bootleg Taylor merch.

And because it’s happening in the social media age, it’s like Beatlemania mixed with the ice bucket challenge.

Everyone wants in. It’s all a bit of fun. Tacky, tacky fun. And, the media is no better – look at what you’re reading, for example. 

Look at what reputable financial newspapers are reporting.

Now, Taylor Swift will not save humanity from AI’s dark side – I can break that news right here, right now. However, it does make sense for the AFR to be reporting on Taylor. More sense than a Twisties team-up.

After all, as they also reportedTaylor Swift’s visit will pump an estimated $140 million into the local economies of NSW and Victoria. 

Visit Victoria boss Brendan McClements said Taylor visit is “generating new money for goods and services which delivers economic benefits beyond the immediate spend.” Venues NSW CEO Kerrie Mather said Swift will “create significant economic benefit for NSW”.

To put that in context, the entire summer of cricket during an Ashes year brings in more than $100 million to each state’s economy. Taylor Swift’s 53-date US tour brought $7.4 billion to 20 different US cities, according to the US Travel Association. There’s money to be had everywhere. And she’s here, right now! Are you ready for it?

To quote Taylor Swift: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Enjoy your weekend.

A reminder: Early-bird tickets for Mumbrella360 close this coming Friday, March 3.

Taking place over three days (21-23 May) at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, the event will be headlined by former Nike chief marketing officer and author, Greg Hoffman. Get early-bird tickets here.


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