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It’s Newsjacking Season

March 10, 2014

Tis the season for newsjacking it seems, and every week there is a new event in our calendars for which we must of course create witty content. Kicking off with Christmas, we’ve ushered in 2014, watched the Golden Globes and Grammy’s, followed the ad action at the Superbowl, celebrated V-Day and patiently await the Oscars that normally brings the silly season to a close. A bit closer to home in Asia we’ve had Chinese New Year to contend with, plus some Australia Day antics for our expat friends.

Here at Click2View and indeed for our clients, every event is an opportunity to create and publish timely, witty and relevant branded content. We all want to be the ones to have that viral moment, and be the next “Oreo wins the Superbowl” headline in all the marketing magazines. Hijacking the news for branded content is nothing new, but now every brand seems to want a piece of the action, putting a lot of pressure on creative ideas and slick execution. Spurred on by the success of Oreo above, brands are huddled around social media command centres during live events ready to hit “tweet” when the perfect moment crops up, or relentlessly planning their brand’s unique take on the event at hand.

There are a few different ways to approach newsjacking that I’ve seen in recent weeks, and I’ve put together three of my favourite approaches below:

The Anna Kendrick Approach

Superbowl commercials are the most expensive media placements in the world, but what’s a brand to do when that media budget is just not cutting it? Answer: admit that you just don’t have the budget. Better yet, use what money you do have for a killer script and a well liked celebrity and you’ve got the perfect anti-commercial.

We all know Google is a marketing juggernaut, but some of the simplest things they do are the most effective. The internet company’s themed homepage logo doodles have become ubiquitous during special occasions, and their take on the controversial Sochi Winter Olympics had the world’s media gushing over Google’s decision to “nail it’s colours to the mast” over the host country’s appalling gay rights record. With plenty of other brands lining up to follow suit during the Olympics, Google’s newsjacking is risk-taking and trend-setting, and moves to a place where it dictates what’s expected of a brand when controversy strikes.

The Oreo Approach

No discussion of newsjacking is complete without mentioning Oreo, who got the world talking about real-time content and social media command centres in 2013 with their slam-dunk tweet during the Superbowl. OK, so they had a dedicated team of brand execs and lawyers, and key team members from the company’s media, social, digital and creative agencies “just in case” the right opportunity came up. And it did. This simple tweet during a stadium-wide blackout catapulted the brand to new heights with their speedy and creative execution that grabbed the attention of the advertising world.

Three approaches to newsjacking, three different ways that brands have been creative with current events and created content that makes the world take notice. If one thing’s for sure, we’ll be seeing a lot more of this as brands become comfortable with real-time content in the months to come.