I have been re-energized for proper live event newsjacking since that Arby’s “Give us our hat back” Grammy’s tweet that Grant beat me to last week. Of course, live event tweeting is easier than being ready for any sort of news — the sort of thing that I build newsjacking labs in agencies for. However, when done right, it can be glorious. I had very few fist pumps this morning as I read DigiDay’s Real-Time Report Card for all newsjacking attempts. This is the only report you need to read. Well done, Digiday. I agree with your scores.
The JC Penny effort has been ridiculed for being similar to Chipotle and their “fake hack” Twitter stunt. It’s also been called the “drunk tweet.” Since when do you drunk tweet coherent thoughts and decent analogies to baseball scores albeit slightly misspelled? This was a brick in the window that we needed for newsjacking. It was intriguing. It was exactly what the best advertising is. It draws you in. It doesn’t close the loop. It was actually quite magnanimous on a night where brands were doing focussing on each other more than the game which offered very little comedic fodder on the field. JC Penny gave other brands a chance to newsjack their newsjacking and several made a few decent attempts to put the retailer in their place.
However, this would have failed if the punch line had sucked. It didn’t. In fact, it was a nice surprise. Crucially, it opened up a new conversation for another trending topic — the Sochi Winter Olympics. Since 2010, Grant and I have been referring to this sort of newsjack as a double-dip. It’s all about taking two trending topics and trying to weave them into one execution to maximise relevance and SEO.
What to do next: I think you should read Digiday’s report card several times and commit all the C to F scores to memory. It’s hard to get newsjacking right. Even writers for Jimmy Fallon like his sister Gloria don’t get it properly funny in a few minutes. (ASIDE: I think she’s superbly funny. One of her SB tweets: “I wouldn’t want to date anyone dumb enough to catch a grenade. I mean, it’s not a football. You should run from that shit Bruno Mars.”). What we need to learn from all this real-time or right-time marketing is that you need to take loads of “Little Bets“ and have a system of approvals in place on a daily basis to make this really work. This isn’t just about stringing together successes every January to March for “planned spontaneity” events like Grammy’s, Super Bowl and Oscars and then hoping a few famous folk die from April to December so you can keep your RTM string alive. This is a proper commitment. The folks I’m talking to are defining what’s appropriate for their brand from a subject matter point of view and setting up newsjacking labs and processes to make this a reality. When done right, it feels like a huge step toward consumer-centric advertising — to providing something useful and relevant to a huge crowd of folk who would much rather be chatting with their friends on Twitter — unless you’re really really brilliant — like Arby’s and JC Penney. Like this tweet from hilarious Tim Siedell, I’m off to buy mittens and then I might just take them off to eat a French Dip and potato cakes from (Come on, West London, open up a franchise) Arby’s.
I was excited about all the bits of Urgent Genius popping up the day Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement especially “Nando’s Fergie Time” where Nando’s announced that they would be open 5 minutes later in honour of the great man. I was actually at Nando’s on my first day at Lean Mean Fighting Machine when I found out that Fergie was calling time on his career. Wanting to start out strong, I was hoping we could get some great ideas out by the next morning. We didn’t.
But wait, let’s go back to the newsroom mentality and think about this properly. Of course, the buzz will be highest within the first 24 hours of the announcement but let’s sit down and plan our spontaneity. Fortunately, the creative teams here are pre-disposed to this sort of behaviour. Dom and Keiron were first out with an idea called Neverending Fergie Time, a single-serving site where a ref holds up an injury time board that keeps counting upwards forever as the board expands down the screen. This was brilliant but we couldn’t get the tech work.
Next up was Josh and Andy. Their idea was to sell Fergie’s last piece of gum on Ebay with all proceeds going to Man United’s charity the MU Foundation. His last match was 2 weeks away. Perfect. They ordered a box and got a name plate engraved. They launched it hours after the game on Sunday. And then yesterday, they watched the gum bidding reach £150,000 and make global news on major news channels as well as loads of sport blogs.
The site eventually got shut down by Ebay so check out their Tumblr on it here. This campaign is a brilliant example of planned spontaneity. I wouldn’t have predicted that two bidders would be willing to pay the price of a decent house in Manchester for something that lives on in a rubbish bin or more annoyingly, on the bottom of a shoe.
Read more about their effort on the Lean Mean Fighting Machine blog and on their Fergie’s Last Gum Tumblr.
As you know by now, Oreo expertly used Twitter to make the most of the Super Bowl’s now infamous black out tweeting an ad before you could even say “blown a fuse.” Minutes after Beyonce’s performance, the whole stadium was cast into darkness, but Oreo saw the light and within minutes posted the tweet above. This gained them instant praise from their fans and followers, with comments like “@Oreo I’m slow clapping you. Best tweet of the night. Social media rapid response at its finest.”
Let’s look at the numbers: The picture was re-Tweeted 15,000+ times, favourited over 5,000+ times, garnered almost 20,000 likes, inspired 790+ comments, and has enjoyed 6,000+ shares.
This is truly newsjacking at its finest. And sure there were other brands that got in on the action to varying degrees of success. But this is just the beginning. We are excited about this response, but we think that agencies and brands can do more. Of course, they have to be prepared for instant sign-off. As we said in our launch video in 2011, they have to be prepared to “take the legal team to breakfast.” Or invite them to your Super Bowl party as the guys at 360i did. Read more about how the agency achieved this instant sign-off here.
There are moments when we’ve felt that the world is ready to embrace this properly. Oreo’s tweet was one of these moments. For non-topical real-time content creation, we felt this same euphoria after Old Spice Man made 100+ response films to tweets a few years ago. We’ve been providing brands and agencies with structures and tactics for 2.5 years now and we’re finally seeing more of them start to act like newsrooms. We love the fact that the Oreo client was in the war room approving ads in minutes, but we want more. We want full interactive platforms like TheArtistifier.com which we did for the Oscars last year. These sites can be pre-approved and ready and waiting to launch when the buzz is at its peak. The Super Bowl was a huge step toward people accepting Urgent Genius with newsjacking as a lead tactic in the creation of their real-time setup. If you want more information about how to prepare your agency or brand for an Oreo-style response, get in touch. And check out the journey of how we first started tracking real-time responses and newsjacking in our book Newsjacking: The Urgent Genius of Real-time Advertising. Our publisher just tweeted pics of the hard cover proof here.
In the home of arguably the most famous team in the world, the stage is set for a knee slapping, knuckle crunching world cup. Blood, sweat and a surprising amount of macho men’s tears have gone into the carefully orchestrated annihilation that is each 80 minute period. In case you’re wondering what’s out there, we’ve compiled our top 3 Urgent Genius stories relating to the world cup:
If you liked Paul the octopus then check out this Baaaaarilliant predicting sheep for the betting shop Paddy Power. Not the most original but it’s proving popular.
With over a million views this spontaneous Haka by young Maori leaders caused a stir
And if you can’t remember the rules, and even if you don’t really care, a lot of people may want to be reminded by watching this video from Lynx Australia, its view count keeps on rising .
Our latest episode in the Step Inside The Circuit Series for Johnnie Walker looks at Singapore’s night race. We were shooting over a four day period in the run-up to the race. Working with Firecracker we’ve fine tuned the process to turn around content in 48 hours after the race has finished. The content has been taken up by broadcasters globally.