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How Poland Spring squandered its Marco Rubio moment
One quick-thinking tweet could have capitalized on the slurp heard around the world
 
Marco Rubio makes light of his big gulp by tweeting a photo of the now-infamous bottle of Poland Springs.
Marco Rubio makes light of his big gulp by tweeting a photo of the now-infamous bottle of Poland Springs. Twitter/MarcoRubio

Marco Rubio just wanted it so bad. In the moments before he interrupted his response to President Obama's State of the Union address to lunge desperately for a bottle of Poland Spring, the senator from Florida was clearly suffering from some kind of iron-wool-mouth that only good old-fashioned H2O could ease. It was the most necessary slurp since that scene in Lawrence of Arabia when Peter O'Toole emerges from the desert and says, "We want two large glasses of lemonade!" Watching Rubio take that gulp made one… awfully thirsty.

Yet while Rubio could shake off his embarrassment by tweeting a picture of a bottle of Poland Spring, the company itself did not rise to the occasion. Unlike Oreo, which made headlines by tweeting a "You Can Dunk in the Dark" advertisement when the lights went out during the Super Bowl, Poland Spring was not so quick on its feet. Indeed, Poland Spring did not respond to the incident until the following day, with a picture on its Facebook account of a bottle in front of a dressing room mirror. "Reflecting on our cameo," the tag line read. "What a night!"

But it was far, far too late. Tweets that included the words "Rubio" and "water" peaked between 10 p.m. and midnight.

"I had no idea we would get such a response to an impromptu sip of water," said Jane Lazgin, a spokesperson for Poland Spring. That's the wrong answer, say industry observers. "TV events are now two-screen experiences," says Jared Keller at Bloomberg. "Smart marketing teams know that buzzes are fleeting and, unlike water, impossible to bottle." Michael Matthews at Forbes writes, "Unless your brand can identify, evolve, and market in real-time then you've missed the boat."

 

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