Matthews, however, rather than lying low and hoping it would all blow over, filmed an apology and then performed the anthem passionately and uploaded it to YouTube.
The apology video now has almost 22 000 views, with 88% of the responses being positive. I think this comment summed up the overall sentiment most accurately: "Well done Dude! You have apologised profusely on national radio, taken responsibility for your actions and have shown you can actually do it... What more can be asked of you. Move on and don't let it get you down...!"
So what are the lessons that digital marketers can take away from Matthews's major mishap?
The 'retake' video quickly garnered positive support, rather than jeering. YouTube now has over three billion views a day globally, and South Africa has seen a 175% increase in YouTube views in the past year alone - an ideal medium for marketers to use in order to reach their target audiences.
FNB, acutely aware of the value of acting fast, recognised the synergy between its 'stadium anthem' ad campaign and renewed public interest in the national anthem. It quickly acted upon it, using online advertising in a strategic way.
Often there are risks associated with experimentation in the offline world that make implementing creative ideas prohibitively expensive. Therefore, lastly, one of the great things about digital is that the early adopters and innovators get great value for money. This is because they are able to take advantage of the cheaper prices of YouTube ads, while advertiser competition for space is low.
In this auctioning model, demand and supply determines the price of each ad: the earlier an advertiser can react to an opportunity, the less competition exists for that advertising slot, and so better the value.
Ard Matthews isn't the first figure or brand to make a big public blunder, and he certainly won't be the last. The question is: will digital marketers be on their toes the next time such an opportunity arises?