From the fun and humorous to international news headlines, what’s trending online has the power to keep us both informed and entertained.
Digital marketers have long recognised the potential of these viral topics that are highly-trafficked and highly-searched as a way to propel their brands into the spotlight and in front of a larger audience.
Such a strategy of drawing attention to themselves by jumping on what’s trending and integrating pop cultural references into their social media efforts is coined as newsjacking. It can be risky to gamble on these fleeting opportunities but when done right, the rewards can be equally attractive. How effective is this strategy?
Very well – if done right – if you ask us.
It’s safe to say that the most-awaited premiere of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones and the equally anticipated release of the Avenger: Endgame is a significant pop cultural occasion for fans and bandwagoners alike.
So, it’s no surprise that brands have jumped aboard the bandwagon too to capitalise on the hype. From condoms to a luxury car and from carbonated drinks to spirits, Avengers- and GoT-themed marketing strategies abound. Here’s a look at some.
Audi, a sponsor of the film’s premiere, released a digital short portraying Captain Marvel’s return to earth. It ends by showcasingthe luxury brand’s new Audi e-tron that’s due to launch in the US in June. The car is featured on the film itself along with the Audi R8.
True to its quirky style, Durex also capitalised on the Endgame by creating a humorous ad that promotes the effectiveness of its product. It features sperms that disappear once they hit the condom, referring to it as the dead end – a wordplay on the film’s title.
Another brand that’s newsjacking is Mountain Dew. Focusing on Arya Stark’s storyline, who must become no one and have no name, the company released a batch of limited-edition, icy white cans that are as faceless as Arya. But, interestingly, once the cans are chilled, Arya’s kill list appears on the surface.
Also on this list is the White Walkers meet Johnnie Walker, a limited-edition spirit made possible by the collaboration between GoT and the legendary whiskey brand. Similar to that of Mountain Dew, the frosted bottle sleeve also reveals a hidden design when chilled.
These tactics are clearly a smart one. The release of the film and of the series provided these brands with the perfect opportunity to spread their message and reach more audience while riding the hype surrounding the events.
Hence, it’s safe to say that newsjacking is one of the most effective Internet marketing strategies today. Although it has a negative reputation in the past, capitalising on what’s viral has become more prevalent and will likely to be so in the years to come.
The problem, however, is that trending topics deteriorate at a much faster rate than ever. A topic can be talked about for days but it can also trend for only about an hour or two. So, if you want to be in the loop and remain relevant, you need to be where the conversation is as it happens.
Here are some ways how:
AMC’s The Walking Dead made the idea of zombie apocalypse relevant again and brands like REI regarded this as an opportunity to capitalise on. The outdoor clothing and gear retail brand created an infographic titled 13 Essential Tools for Surviving a Zombie Outbreak that creatively features its products. It was a hit and not long after, was shared by other sites, expanding REI’s influence. The infographic was no doubt, effective. It was fun, relevant, and interesting – not to mention, it provided readers with content that is both valuable and relevant.
Joining a conversation that’s taking place in the industry is another strategy marketers are adopting. Somehow, today, those that are being clever and witty capture the most recognition. That’s been the case with brands Old Spice and Taco Bell – both of which have been famous for being responsive and often cheeky online. Here’s a funny exchange between the two:
Finally, in terms of making a purchase decision, everyone would agree that we’re more likely to take recommendations from a fellow consumer – and that’s the logic behind user-generated content. Take HBO as an example. Using its multi-pronged campaign platform #ForTheThrone, the network has asked brands and fans alike how far they’ll go for the throne. The campaign features a trio of calls-to-action: bleed, quest, and create, providing fans with an immersive experience and a chance to participate in different quests that included donating blood.
As these examples have proven, riding on the tide that is the trending topics online can benefit your brand in ways that traditional social media campaigns don’t. The recipe for integrating pop culture with your brand’s initiative requires recognising relevancy and creating engaging content that showcases the value of your products and services.
Need to get started? As a digital marketing agency in Singapore, we can help your brand profit from the unpredictable ways of pop culture. Get in touch with us today and discover how our SEO services and social media management can help you.