For those of you who work in the media, you’ll likely be aware of the term ‘Newsjacking’. If not you’ve probably been exposed to it.


‘Newsjacking’ is the process of taking advantage of a piece of news to increase awareness of your brand and/or product. It is an opportunity to increase brand awareness, at low cost. Newsjacking relies on the continued influence of social media, and the age that we live in. This digital forum is one of the most potent tools in increasing brand awareness.


This has been a fairly popular process, synonymous with increased sales and success since its popularity spike in the wake of the blackout at the 2013 Superbowl, in which Oreo jumped on the opportunity with this effort.


This initiative is not always effective and companies must be careful about how they approach it. There are many cases of ‘Newsjacking’ that have back-fired, for instance, this effort from ‘Spaghetti-O’s’.


The advert shows a virtual ‘O’ shaped character holding an American flag high in the air, the text above stating ‘Take a moment to remember #Pearlharbour with us’, which is not only inappropriate but completely disproportionate with the brand image.


Despite this, the practice of ‘Newsjacking’ is widely regarded as a ‘breakthrough’ in social media marketing, and here are three of our favourite examples on social media from the last five years.




MINI may only produce small cars, but company employees have shown themselves to be ‘big-hitters’ when it comes to seizing news-based opportunities. Their quick-witted slogans appeal to the average consumer’s concentration time, as well as their humour. The use of a national scandal as an opportunity to light-heartedly advertise the new car was brilliant.


It came at a time when the Tesco horsemeat scandal was prominent in the media. Tesco was found to be labelling ‘meat of horses’ as beef mince, and there was an uproar at the eventuality.



Kit-Kat –

Upon the launch of the Iphone 6+, the people at Apple found themselves in a rather ‘fruity’ situation. Its new flagship phone was once again being talked about by almost everyone on the planet, but not for the reasons the company would have hoped. There were widespread reports of the device bending under pressure, something which isn’t sought after when consumers are spending upwards of £500 on it.


Whilst this was clearly a huge problem for Apple (not that huge, they were recently announced as the first company to be worth $800bn), it did present an opportunity to the social media gurus at KitKat. The brand’s catchphrase has for a long time been ‘Have a break. Have a KitKat.’ The bending iPhone pandemic gave the company a much-needed opportunity for a resurgence, allowing them to prey on the misfortune of a global giant, for a spike in sales. A recurring theme throughout all the examples shown is not only the simplicity of them but the irony they provide. KitKat takes the biscuit with this one.



 Dunkin’ Donuts –

Cast yourself back to the days of February 2015 and you’ll recall a certain stripy-dress sending the world into a frenzy of furious debate. Whether you were team #blueblack or #whitegold, you’ll no doubt remember the way ‘The Dress’ took over the world. Whatever your views on the debacle, there’s no doubting that this ‘colour anomaly’ was screaming out to be ‘jacked’. Dunkin’ Donuts took the opportunity and produced an effort that increased its twitter followers by 3% in 24 hours. All ‘newsjacking’ has the potential to be a disaster if done wrong, but DD ‘dressed’ it up well.

The continued progression of Newsjacking shows that this is an effective way of attracting brand support. The use of up-to-date stories is a successful tool in many PR campaigns, and the most popular ones are generally associated with humour and wit. There’s no doubt it’s becoming more popular, and we can’t wait to see the next ingenious attempt.