BRANDgelina: Five businesses that have turned the celebrity breakup into a marketing opportunity

Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie

The wax figures of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt after the pair were physically separated following news of their divorce, at Madame Tussauds in London. Source: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Celebrity watchers may still be reeling from news this week that Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have split up after two years of marriage and more than 15 years of dating, but it hasn’t taken long for marketing masterminds to leap into action in a bid to turn this well-broadcast breakup into attention for their businesses.

Juice bar Boost Juice and content streaming platform Stan are among the local brands to get involved, while one US retailer is offered its customers a 70% off promotion in an email titled: “Bye Bye Brangelina”.

However, businesses should be careful when it comes to sensitive situations such as divorces, says social media expert Catriona Pollard, who told SmartCompany this kind of marketing can be seen to be “in bad taste”.

“When brands attempt newsjacking like this, they have to be really careful about their approach and sentiment. It can be seen in bad taste, especially in relationship to divorce and emotionally sensitive topics,” Pollard says.

Approaching the topic with humour top of mind is what Pollard recommends, warning that making negative comments about divorce would “definitely negatively impact the brand”.

“Newsjacking” is where brands capitalise on the popularity of a big news story to boost sales and marketing. Pollard says the technique can be “extremely” successful, but quick action is essential.

“Newsjacking only works if you do it instantaneously. If we saw brands do it in one month’s time, or two weeks time, it would have completely lost its value,” Pollard says.

Finally, Pollard says visuals are essential for drawing in an audience, with funny comments or words alone not going to cut through to consumers.

“It’s really critical to have good visuals, particularly if you’re applying it across social media. With these rapid campaigns, you have to tick a lot of boxes,” she says.

SmartCompany has gathered up five examples of #brangelina marketing from businesses both here and abroad.

1. Free juice for broken hearts.

On Tuesday, Australian juice maker Boost Juice added an extra two names to its long running “What’s your Name Game” campaign, where customers who share a specified name can score a free juice in store. A last minute addition of Brad and Angelina was popular on the store’s Facebook page, receiving over 2,700 likes and 200 shares.

One commenter asked why celebrity pop singer Taylor Swift had not received the same treatment for her many break-ups. Boost replied, noting with Taylor’s break-up frequency, they were “pretty sure we’d be broke”.

2. Movie streaming websites offer Brangelina re-runs

Australian Netflix competitor Stan has added a ‘Brad vs Angelina’ section to its platform, letting teary-eyed fans re-live the glory days of the celebrity power couple. Timeless classics such as Ocean’s Eleven and Killing Them Softly are included in the selection.

Scandanavian television network Viasat has taken a more brutal approach through its online streaming service Viaplay. Front and centre is Brad and Angelina’s joint movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”.

Classy Viaplay #brangelina #breakup #opportunism #happyendingsarestoriesthathaventfinishedyet #ruthlessmarketing

A photo posted by Caroline Livingstone (@cvlivingstone) on

Included is a quote from the movie: “Happy endings are stories that haven’t finished yet.” Do you know something we don’t, Viaplay?

3. Jennifer Aniston sparkles on

Some brands are choosing to take a different approach to #brangelina marketing, capitalising on the assumed glee of Pitt’s ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. Sparkling water brand Capi chose to feature Aniston in its “Sparklelife” campaign, with an Instagram post stating she’s “got her sparkle back”.

? #sparklelife

A photo posted by CAPI (@capisparkling) on

4. As the relationship wanes, attention turns to wax

World famous London wax figurine museum Madame Tussauds has quelled fans’ worries that the couple’s respective figurines would remain placed together, quickly separating them with a figurine of Twilight star Robert Pattinson. No news yet on whether Pattinson is happy to act as mediator.

The museum received hundreds of responses on Twitter, with one fan suggesting the museum “should’ve put them back to back walking away like a western shootouts about to go down”.

5. Half price specials


??? ?when retail becomes petty af #shade#brangelina#newyorkandcompany#petty#instagood#instalike#instamood#instamoment#potd#savage

A photo posted by World➡️Meet Chloe (@chloesammantha) on

Clothing brand New York Company has apparently emailed its customers announcing a 70% off sale, titling the email “Bye Bye Brangelina”. This could be an oversight, as given the circumstances, 50% off might be more appropriate.


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Don Hesh
Don Hesh
5 years ago

Boost Juice post had only 3 likes and no re-tweets… It’s not a good example.. Looks like Smart Company getting paid a lot to promote Boost Juice on their articles..