Hijacking the #LibSpill: Meet the businesses trying to make a quick buck from the new prime minister

Hijacking the #LibSpill: Meet the businesses trying to make a quick buck from the new prime minister


Aussie businesses have been quick to jump on social media this week in an attempt to promote themselves after the Liberal leadership tussle in which Malcolm Turnbull emerged victorious.

Gelato Messina unveiled a new gelato flavour to celebrate Australia getting a new prime minister.

The “Malcolm’s malted milk” flavour hit the shops and social media feeds on Wednesday, the day after Turnbull was sworn in as prime minister.

Gelato Messina used the trending hashtag “libspill” and its Instagram post promoting the new flavour soon went viral, snapping up significant news coverage along the way.

The popular gelato brand is not the only business trying to make a buck over the Liberal Party’s leadership tensions.

Nando’s Australia took to Instagram on Wednesday to promote its peri-peri sauce, saying it is the “perfect candidate” for Turnbull’s new cabinet.

Domino’s also jumped on the leadership spill bandwagon, attempting to woo hungry journalists working long into the night on Monday by slapping the “libspill” and “auspol” hashtags onto its latest Instagram promotion.

It is no surprise Aussie startups are also promoting themselves in the wake of Turnbull’s elevation, especially given the former communications minister’s love of technology and disruption.

Sydney startup GoFar yesterday tweeted a picture of its founders and Turnbull, pointing out that the member for Wentworth had bought GoFar’s connected car device in June and two months later became prime minister – implying you, too, should buy the product.

Declan Lee, co-owner of Gelato Messina, told SmartCompany this morning the naming of the new gelato flavour was a “quite organic” process.

“Malcolm is quite a regular customer of ours at the Darlinghurst store, so it seemed quite fitting for us to create a flavour for him in light of the news from the night before,” Lee says.

“We were tossing around ideas for a name for our new malted milk flavour in the office, then people started talking about spilled milk so we thought it was very appropriate. People keep asking us for an onion flavour now… Maybe we should drop a tub off to Kirribilli House.”

Dionne Lew, social media expert and chief executive of the Social Executive, told SmartCompany brands have to be very careful when they “news jack”.

“We have seen a lot of fails with news jacking when it’s done for the wrong reason,” Lew says.

“We’ve learnt never, for example, to write a hashtag in times of tragedy or crisis. We’ve seen a lot of brand fails there. Having said that, clearly topical issues are front of mind and get a lot of attention.”

“In the old days, what used to happen if it was raining was a shop pushed the umbrellas to the front of the store. There’s nothing wrong with that idea of capitalising on the conditions around you,” Lew adds.

Lew says Gelato Messina unveiling a new gelato flavour, for example, was appropriate and successful because every week the business unveils a new flavour.

“It’s part of their brand strategy in a sense that they’ve got their recognised ice creams but you’ll go in and have an amazing ice cream and know it might not be made for another year,” she says.

“For them to invent a new [Malcolm Turnbull] ice cream flavour, that is contextual, topical and is already a well-established and integral part of their product strategy.”

“So that’s where you see something work really well. It’s capitalising on a moment without going off your brand message – it’s fun and delightful,” Lew adds. 


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