The term newsjacking, coined by widely known marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, refers to the practice of aligning a brand with a current event or trend and reaping the benefits through boosted exposure and regard from the media. Newsjacking has been widely executed by a number of brands, notably Oreo during the 2013 SuperBowl, and has become a convenient method to quickly amplify brand exposure, regardless of whether the contemporary event is relevant to the business.
The 2016 US Presidential Elections are arguably one of the most contentious and widely broadcasted events of this year, drumming up worldwide awareness and even being dubbed “the most Tweeted debate ever” by Twitter itself. Amidst the ongoing slew of controversies and speil of moot exposures, brands have been piggybacking off this political fever to remain current, cunning and central to this momentous event that has swept over the public and gained their undivided attention.
This article will explore four successful campaigns that have hijacked the 2016 US Elections:
Make America Pancakes Again, Bisquick
Bisquick, an instant pancake brand, is an unlikely candidate to contribute in the political debate, however, Bisquick has tactically devised a more suitable and equally as tense election, complete with campaign content and a fully coordinated social media strategy.
The creatives at Bisquick whipped up the ‘Make America Pancakes Again’ presidential campaign, pitting out two of America’s favourite breakfast foods against each other in an unnerving head-to-head showdown. Cutting through the earnest political noise, Bisquick has successfully curated an endearing campaign that has found triumph across the breadth of social media, with #VoteWaffles and #VotePancakes sparking online trending status and fundamentally increasing exposure of the Bisquick brand.
All American brewer Anheuser-Busch has given its popular product Budweiser a temporary reband, renaming the beer as simply “America.” In addition to the changing name, Budweiser is also adorning its packaging with slogans such as “Liberty and Justice for All” and “Land of the Free.”
This is not the only stunt Anheuser-Busch has pulled during the elections, with the casting of comedic actors Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer to feature in a Super Bowl advertisement featuring the spoof political party; “Bud Light Party.”
Budweiser is striving to make its product relevant to current affairs, to boost not only the upcoming election but also sales of its beer.
Zoe for President, YMCA
A heartfelt take on the elections comes from YMCA, who announced that “Zoe”, a one-year-old girl, wants to run for US president in 2064.
The emotive campaigns captures viewers’ attention by expressing the importance of the services offered by the YMCA, by using the US Elections to showcase the potential the recipients of YMCA care have. The US elections can be turbulent and hostile, so YMCA has taken the opportunity to issue a more poignant and moving approach.
Reach Across the Aisle, JetBlue
Popular low-cost airline JetBlue aimed to lift the mood of election season with a thoughtful and buoyant campaign which featured 150 unsuspecting passengers and a competition that would result in free air travel to one of 20 destinations.
The campaign, inspired by the “contentious” nature of the US presidential campaign season, sought out to exhibit how, through compromise and communication, the individuals were able to unanimously come up with a decision that left everyone pleased.
The key takeaway from the advert, which has been marvelled as a social experiment in itself, is that if everyone works together, all those involved can achieve the result they want. The provoking campaign has achieved over 1 million views since being initially published.
The relationship between political and commercial advertising can be difficult to muster, but if brands are empathetic with consumers over the penetration of political messages, it gives vendors the opportunity to positively improve brand awareness and capture its share of notability from this cultural debate.
Running election-themed campaigns and advertisements can pose some risk, as brands could easily alienate a candidate or party if their message depicts aligned bias towards one side or another. However, if executed correctly and with an eager eye on the details, politically orientated adverts can be immensely prosperous and popular amongst the public, drawing in attention for the brand giving it limelight in the saturated media.
What is your favourite example of newsjacking? Get in touch over Twitter @mporiumgroup or comment below.