“Newsjacking” to create brand buzz

"Newsjacking" has become a popular way for brands to try and create extra exposure and "buzz" for their brands, by creating topical ads that react quickly to news stories. A recent interview with in Marketing Magazine with Richard Holmes of Specsavers had some good tips and tricks on how to do this well, and not well.

Specsavers is a brand that "does what it says on the tin": selling glasses at affordable prices. They have done a series of topical ads, such as the one below when England had a goal disallowed at the 2010 World Cup against Germany, even though the ball was MILES over the line.

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And another making fun of UK politicians (MPs) being exposed as over-claiming expenses.

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Here are some tips from Richard.

1. Bring the brand idea to life

Specsavers is a great example of building memory structure with a distinctive brand property in the form of an endline that summs up the brand idea, in this case: "Should've gone to Specsevers". Each topical ad really works well to bring this idea to life. 

2. Be authentic

The personality of Specsavers fits well with this type of topical, funny ad, which is not the case for all brands. As Richard says, "It works for us because of our nice, friendly, wry brand image".

3. Be selective

There needs to be a great fit between the brand and the news story for newsjacking to work. Also, you need to avoid over-doing it, and so losing the element of surprize. And this means being selective. Richard comments, "I usually say no. We are selective and pick our moments. If you did this too often, it would loose its impact." 

4. Be fast

The key thing, as covered in previous posts on "acting like a newsroom", is to be quick. And this means having one person with the power to decide. At Specsavers, this is Richard, the CEO. A key success factor is also having an in-house creative team. "They know they can call me at any hour with an idea. I will say yes or no within 30 minutes, and, if the answer is yes, book the ad the next day."

In conclusion, for newsjacking to work, as with all marketing, you need a clear and inspiring brand idea and a strong, confident leader to help bring this to life.

More posts on newsjacking can be found, here on Axe/Lynx, and here on hurricane Sandy.