Carpe Diem or newsjacking in PR

By jumping on the “right train at the right time” with content, brands can ensure high brand awareness and positive publicity.

3 min to read
Written by: Nataša Blagojević

Newsjacking in communication is best described as a strategy of using current events and trends for the purpose of promoting a brand or a product. By creating content, commenting, and following up on current events that may or may not be directly related to the company, brand, or person we want to promote, we are actually trying to become part of the conversation and gain additional visibility.


The goal is to hit that moment when something is still fresh news, has the potential to develop into something that will attract a lot of attention, and the sentiment is generally positive. According to the nature and time frame of implementation, we differentiate two approaches to newsjacking:


1. Proactive newsjacking


It involves planning and preparing topics in advance. Here, the most important thing is to identify in advance potential trends and events that can be used for brand promotion. A simple example is important calendar events or events that attract the interest of the general public by their nature, e.g. sports competitions. Given more time, the assumption is that we can plan the content more quality, but there is no guarantee that it will resonate as we planned and desired. An excellent example is IKEA, which, with a powerful campaign launched on International Women’s Day, said that equality begins at home.


An example of IKEA’s campaign:



2. Reactive newsjacking


It implies a very quick reaction to a sudden and unexpected event. Since it is practically impossible to plan, it often requires a high level of flexibility and creativity to exploit the potential. Shorter deadlines increase the risk that messages and content will not be of sufficient quality or even contain some wrong or disputed detail. However, what is crucial here is that you can reach a larger audience in a relatively simple way, encourage them to engage on social networks and create a positive experience. An excellent recent example of reactive newsjacking was made by the brand Not On The High Street, which launched a “completely accidental” Pink Friday sale campaign, which included a pink takeover of their website and social media profiles, as well as “accidental” OOH advertising where branded Digi-Vans could be noticed driving in London past buses that were branded in Barbie style.


An example of Not On The High Street brand’s campaign:

Source: LinkedIn


Advantages and disadvantages of newsjacking


With quick reaction and creativity, it is possible to ensure high brand awareness and positive publicity through media announcements and content on social networks. In the context of social networks, there is especially significant potential for greater audience engagement, encouraging discussion and sharing of branded content, which helps build or strengthen relationships, and thus increase sales. Companies and brands that make good use of the potential of a topic are often recognized as trendsetters.


Apart from the challenge of how to recognize the right topic, moment, and the resources that newsjacking requires in a short time, the most important negative side implies everything that is literally the opposite of the advantages that a creative and well-hit message can provide us. The risk of negative audience reaction and damage to the brand’s reputation is inevitable in cases where content is distasteful or insensitively used to exploit tragedies or other negative events.


It is important to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and carefully weigh the positives and negatives that it can bring us. With careful thought, a little creativity and courage, this tactic can pay off many times over.


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