In its role as a constant source of inspiration on cutting-edge subjects, Contagious magazine recently ran an article on the trend of Newsjacking. In most people’s vocabulary, ‘Jacking’ has certain connotations – in this case around the removal or theft of an item – however what the article outlines is a trend for brands borrowing, stealing or hijacking memes* in order to present their own message. The act of Newsjacking, therefore, is the act of piggybacking on existing events, and if correctly executed can be a shortcut to engendering consumer goodwill.
Branded content is of growing importance in the marcomms budget and if successful it can provide low cost engagement with consumers who will transmit it free of charge across social media if it proves to be engaging enough.
One piece of engaging content that picked up numerous awards and generated over three and half million YouTube hits, as well as millions more for associated brand videos, was K-Swiss CEO Kenny Powers’ video. In the video, a character from television series “Eastbound and Down” was inserted as the CEO of K-Swiss. Please be warned: the viral itself is not for the faint-hearted or easily offended.
The difference between content and Newsjacking is that for branded content, there is not necessarily any current meme to hijack – so the content can be created differently. Where Newsjacking is concerned, the risk for the brand is heightened, as public interaction with a new story can be potentially disastrous if the interaction comes across as domineering, foolish or cynical. One such example of the risk involved comes from apparel brand Kenneth Cole, whose namesake and founder attempted to Newsjack during the recent uprising in Egypt by tweeting;
‘Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard that our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC’
Unfortunately Kenneth’s cultural dials were wrongly tuned to the frequency and backlash from the Twitterati was swift and punishing. Read the full story here.
So for any brands out there looking for their next source for content creation simply open a newspaper and follow these simple rules:
- Make sure you are responding to a meme recognised by the mainstream
- Be the first to react
- Make it tasteful: bad news travels faster than good
- Make it impactful – but without transgressing bullet point 3
Or contact The Value Engineers to talk to us about your Digital Strategy.