Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

How 10 Companies Generated Massive Word-Of-Mouth Through Newsjacking

The holy grail of word-of-mouth is to make the news. Nothing else gets quite as much reach, and nothing else generates quite as many conversations. Somewhere along the path of marketing history, a brilliant mind figured if you couldn’t make the news… you could hijack it.

This strategy is called Newsjacking and we’ve gathered 10 great examples for your reference and inspiration, enjoy!

1: Kit Kat Sent Chocolates To The Edge Of Space

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As the world watched Redbull send Felix Baumgartner up into the stratosphere, Nestlé tied four fingers of Kit Kats and a GoPro to a weather balloon and sent it up with him.

Nestlé’s message? Have a break… from gravity.

Why It Worked:

It’s a winning combination of silly, amusing impractically and technical impressiveness.

2: Specsavers Seizes Olympic Flag Mix-Up

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During North Korea vs Colombia women’s football match the 2012 Olympics, the Olympic community mistakenly displayed the South Korean flag in place of the north’s.

Specsavers jumped at the opportunity and released a cheeky press ad the next day which quickly made it’s way around the internet too.

Why It Worked:

This ad is is hilarious because it’s incredibly appropriate for Specsavers – the joke can’t be shared without mention of the brand.

3: The London Fire Brigade Invites Celebrity Hero To Train With Them.

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Kate Winslet was vacationing in Sir Richard Branson’s luxury caribbean home when it was struck by lightning.

The home caught on fire and Winslet carried Branson’s 90 year old mother to safety.

As news of her heroism swept the news, the London Fire Brigade offered Kate Winslet professional firefighter training.

The offer made the news, appearing on channels such as the BBC and Vogue.

Why It Worked:

The original story was shared because it’s a feel good tale involving famous people. The brigade’s offer added more “feel good” to the mix.

4: Marketwatch Combined Business With Zombies

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In the height of The Walking Dead (an AMC series portraying life after a zombie apocalypse) fever, Marketwatch rather brilliantly used characters and plotlines from the series to deliver 7 business management lessons.

The article was featured on both business and entertainment blogs.

Why It Worked:

The combination of an otherwise stereotypically boring business article with the hottest show on television was impressive to both fans of The Walking Dead and business people alike.

5: Newcastle Beats The Super Bowl System

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As the Super Bowl drew close, the ludicrously high price of a Super Bowl ad ($8,000,000 for a 60-second spot) was all over the news.

Newcastle spun this to their advantage, launching a campaign called Band Of Brands – a call for brands to come together to split the insane advertising cost… and air an equally insane advertisement with 37 separate brands in it.

Why It Worked:

People love David and Goliath type stories, this was both that and hilarious.

6: Audi, The Royal Baby And The Miracle Of Mechanical Childbirth

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May 2015 brought the birth of a new royal baby. Many brands tried to ride the coattails of the wee prince, but none did so quite as spectacularly as Audi, who produced an impressive CGI video of an Audi giving birth to a littler Audi.

 

Why It Worked:

This ad used the news of the Royal baby in an unexpected manner, which made it stand out from the flood of Royal baby news.

7: Nintendo Responds To Oscar Results With A Giant Fire-breathing Turtle

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While many brands reacted to the 2014 Oscars with glossy & stylish executions, Nintendo’s cheeky tweets received a better response than most.

Notably, when animated film Wreck-It-Ralph failed to snag an Oscar, Nintendo called on it’s resident villainous turtle, Bowser (who cameoed in the film) to throw some shade.

Why It Worked:

Nintendo is not a brand typically associated with the glitz and glam of the Oscars. This gave their content a unique voice that cut through other brands during the Oscars.

8: Arby’s Had The Perfect Logo For The Grammy’s

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One of highlights of the 2014 Grammy’s was Pharrell William’s unconventionally sartorial hat. As the world tweeted about Pharrell’s off taste in headgear, Arby’s dropped the one tweet to rule them all (check out the retweets on this thing!).

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Pharrell himself replied with a toasty pun and when he eventually put the hat up on eBay to raise funds for charity, Arby’s purchased the hat for a heart warming $44,100.

Why It Worked:

Like the Specsavers ad above, Arby’s had the perfect brand to comment on the news. 

9: Apple Buys Beats, Denny’s Buys Beets

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When dozens of variants of the headline “Apple Buys Beats For $3 Billion” plastered the front pages of websites all across the internet, Denny’s responded with the perfect topical tweet.

Why It Worked:

Denny’s tweet was a brilliant, witty pun that was was too relevant not to share.

10: Snickers Gives Suarez Something Better To Chew On

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Luis Suarez, Uruguayan soccer player and serial on-field biter, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.

Twitter went wild, mentioning the bite 339,269 times within the first hour of it happening. Many brands responded to the biting, but none did so quite as well as Snickers, who responded with a hilariously wry image.

Why It Worked:

As the world wondered why Suarez could not stop biting his opponents, Snickers had a tagline that served as the perfect explanation.

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Read Next: 10 Companies That Generated Word-of-Mouth By Delivering Immense Practical Value

Jon Tan

My coffee expenses and my office rental are one and the same.

Terrified of mathematics and carbohydrates.

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