As seen on PRWeek

Most marketers relish the opportunity to increase news coverage for their brand by taking advantage of news of the day (also referred to as newsjacking, real-time marketing or opportunistic thinking). It’s a cost-effective way to emphasize brand attributes and strengthen brand affinity. But to do it right, brand spontaneity takes planning. Below are key elements to consider:


We all develop and follow brand plans, but have you built in enough flexibility to take advantage of opportunities? Coyne PR counsels its clients to set aside a budget to activate “unplanned” ideas. Most opportunistic thinking can be implemented at very little cost while driving high returns.

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For instance, the Today Show’s Hoda Kotb is a huge fan of the Entenmann’s Brand. When she was returning from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Coyne saw a great opportunity to welcome her back in a fun and surprising way. We worked with a Today Show producer on the reveal and enlisted a food stylist to create an elaborate welcome back display of the Manhattan skyline made from Entenmann’s products. The smile on her face as it was delivered live on air was genuine and priceless.

Does the opportunity fit the brand’s attributes, voice and tone? Is it relevant to the brand’s audience and their expectations for the brand? This is an area where brands can overreach, resulting in media and consumer criticism.

A great example for knowing your audience came about when University of Utah college football fans Ben and Jackee Belnap’s season ticket money was shredded by their two-year-old son. Coyne quickly recommended long-time college football sponsor Dr Pepper help the couple out. Dr Pepper agreed to pay for the family’s tickets, resulting in one happy couple and 200 stories that reinforced the brand’s support of college football and its fans. It made perfect sense for the brand to jump in and help, nicely tying into their national Fansville campaign.

Have you aligned on a quick approval process? Time is of the essence, so establishing in advance who needs to approve the idea, the approach and the materials is critical.

Do you have the right tools and people in place to identify opportunities? Coyne uses social media tools to stay on top of conversations and encourages “Creative Contributors” from every level of the organization to present ideas to team leads. With hundreds of eyes and ears consuming information in different ways, teams receive a wide variety of innovative thinking spanning public relations, influencer engagement, social content and more.

For example, one Coyner saw music mogul DJ Khaled tout Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula lotion as a “major key” on his ultra-popular Snapchat channel. We arranged a partnership which turned into an exclusive DJ Khaled x Palmer’s capsule collection launch, generating more than 853 million impressions.

Are there any risks to the brand by participating? Unfortunately, brand missteps often result in negative feedback from media and consumers. Don’t feel the need to jump into every story – there’s always a next time.


Now that you’ve gotten a peak behind the curtain on how Coyne thinks about newsjacking, hopefully it has you thinking about planning your next unplanned idea.