There is one real winner coming out of all the craziness that is the Deflategate scandal this week: Gillette.
The company has been promoting its new Flexball razors, and the hashtag #Flexball was splashed across the backdrop for both Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s press conferences today. It was a glorious coincidence — a connotative tie to the exact issue at the heart of Deflategate: a football that may be more flexible and easy to grip. And it has resulted in an enormous spike in social media activity.
At various points today, #Flexball was one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter. According to Ditto Labs, a photo recognition platform, as of this morning, photo incidences on social media of both the Gillette logo and the Flexball hashtag spiked to rate three times greater than average.
As Ditto’s Ben Shannon said, “Social photo analysis is the only way a brand like Gillette can view and categorize such a viral, image-based trend.” And, for the Boston-headquartered shaving company, today was a day that its partnership with the Patriots, however uncomfortable the whole overblown scandal may be for the team, really paid off.
On Twitter, Jim Delaney, the chief executive and founder of Activate Sports, a sports and entertainment marketing firm, tweeted out these numbers related to #Flexball:
— Jim Delaney (@activate) January 22, 2015
In an email, Delaney said he got the graph and the numbers from social chatter tracking program Keyhole. He added that he noticed the Flexball hashtag even before Belichick’s press conference and that he tracked it all day.
I reached out to a Gillette spokesman who said that the campaign with the #Flexball hashtag has been running in the background at press conferences all season. He declined to comment further on how fortuitous the product placement may be for the company.