Jacking chat rooms
Less than three days after the photos of a naked Prince Harry at a Las Vegas party appeared online, the brand responded with a parody of the 'Keep calm and carry on' posters, using the line 'Sorry Harry if it had anything to do with us'.
Another name for the strategy is 'culture surfing', which, says Grant Hunter, regional creative director for Asia Pacific at Iris Worldwide, and co-author of a forthcoming book on newsjacking, better describes the phenomenon of 'picking a cultural wave and riding it'.This takes away from the idea of a real-time reaction to a news story, and places it more in the realm of a 'cultural moment'.One example of this approach was last week's launch by EE of a remastered version of the 'Fenton' video that became a You Tube hit a year ago.While T-Mobile raised eyebrows, however, ads related to an on-diary event will typically lack the surprise that comes with a cheeky quick-response ad.Nestle, for example, with its agency JWT, sent a Kit Kat attached to a weather balloon into space last month.Specsavers has used the strategy to good effect (see below).
Its ads poking fun at MPs' expenses in 2009, England's disallowed goal in the 2010 World Cup and the Korean flag mix-up at this summer's Olympics were quick off the mark, clever, funny and inoffensive.
Something as simple as unexpected weather was enough for Polo to place itself in the moment and become part of the conversation.
During the Olympics, Master Card's ad depicting London Mayor Boris Johnson stuck on a zipwire, clutching two Union Jacks, was a typically witty, good-humoured poke at rival Visa (an official sponsor of the London Games, unlike Master Card).
It has had more than 29m You Tube views since its debut last year.
With the luxury of time, there is greater opportunity for brands to create a more slick response.
The intention was to 'sweeten' Felix Baumgartner's enforced break after he halted his first Red Bull Stratos space jump due to bad weather.