It caught everyone by surprise, including the water bottle brand that suddenly found itself the unexpected beneficiary of a prominent product placement during a major political event broadcast live on national TV. …

So far the water bottler’s response to being unexpectedly thrust into the national political limelight has been as cool and calm as the image of a Maine forest on its packaging. It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that the brand posted on its Facebook wall a picture of a Poland Springs bottle looking at itself in an actor’s makeup mirror. The caption read, “Reflecting on our cameo. What a night!” …

Unexpected blips like these provide an opportunity for brands to catch a wave off the chatter and get a leg up on in the marketplace. Though the images on their bottles evoke gentle brooks and restful nature scenes, the bottled water industry is red with fierce competition.

“People are passionate about the water they drink,” said Sebastian Rusk, CEO of Social Buzz TV. “Maybe I hate Fiji water and all of a sudden, thanks to a little comedy, Poland Spring is a brand I can relate to.” That can change consumer brand preferences and drive sales.