The Dark Arts of Hijack Marketing

Frustrated man wearing balaclava with a gun. Headache concept.
SHARE
THIS



Hijack marketing, ambush marketing, newsjacking or guerrilla marketing – call it what you like – this strategy involves a brand associating itself with an event that already has an existing audience, and leverages this, often without having to dig deep for sponsorship fees.

These audacious tactics go a long way in creating a buzz around a brand, but the seemingly spontaneous, creative genius is not necessarily born in the moment of opportunity.

“It’s a battle for customers’ hearts and minds,” according to TheOneCentre’s John Ford. But it’s a marathon of poker-faced strategy that is going to prime most brands for hijacking success.

Take Oreo’s you can still dunk in the dark tweet; it was the talk of the Super Bowl and was retweeted about 15,000 times during the black out. While the actual power outage wasn’t anticipated, the marketing cleverness behind the hijack was by no means a stab in the dark.

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-dark

Derek Laney, director of product marketing management for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud says: “If you talk to the folks at Oreo, they’ll tell you that the year wasn’t defined by that moment. Their success had been created throughout the whole year – building a range of content marketing campaigns – they built up this massive proprietary audience on Facebook and Twitter.” It was those social media fans, already engaged, who helped to spread Oreo’s message like wild fire in that moment of darkness.

According to Laney, this type of hijacking is marketing in real time where a brand injects itself into a conversation that’s already taking place. “The advantage is, you’re able to tap into an audience that already exists, for example Snickers was able to capture a moment during the World Cup, just after Luis Suarez had bitten an opponent – [for the third time] – and they came up with you’re not you when you’re hungrywhich was perfectly aligned to the brand, but more importantly, it was adding something to a conversation already in flight,” says Laney.

suarez-snickers-meme

TheOneCentre’s Ford sees hijack marketing as “the ultimate David and Goliath opportunity”.

“It’s when you get brands spending big money, and then you’ve got this piss-taker or equalising commentary that comes in and undermines or follies the other brand,” says Ford.

He uses the example of Nike – not that it’s a small “piss-taking” operation. Nike saw this year’s World Cup in Brazil as the perfect international stage on which to battle Adidas, the official sponsor of the FIFA event in its “Risk Everything” hijack attempt.

“The title Risk Everything lends itself to the very definition of hijack marketing. Nike played off a huge amount of public interest in the World Cup and rode off the big name players that they sponsor (Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Neymar). The tonality of the campaign was quite dark and serious – reflecting the pressure of the game – the epitome of competition, to Risk Everything

Richard Morgan, executive creative director at 303Lowe reflects back to a previous hijacking effort by Nike in 2010. He says: “Nike’s Write The Future ad came out a week before the start of the World Cup which was run exclusively online.” Overnight, the ad received millions of views. Morgans says: “Nike highjacked what should have been Adidas’ shining moment, leaving them floundering around on the backfoot. It was a piece of marketing genius.”

The Nike theme wasn’t only relevant to the players’ attitude, but also to the way it was ambushing the biggest game in the world.

“The average consumer doesn’t really delineate between sponsor and non-sponsor. The average consumer would think Nike was officially involved in some way,” says Ford.

When playing the role of hijacker, there are limitations on displaying logos or advertising near the vicinity of the official sponsor. “Typically what hijackers do is play around the fringes of what can and can’t be done. The brand would have its own legal council looking at it,” explains Ford. “However, authorities can’t control the distribution and sharing of related content online.”

With mobile devices and social media, brands can penetrate any zone virtually – just as Oreo did at the Super Bowl.

Laney says: “Brands are better to focus on how they build their own proprietary audience, while it’s tempting to look at the audience of others and steal a moment from them, over time, building your own audience that you don’t have to rent from others is a better approach.” Whether its via social media or alternate channels, “the more that you own that audience – it’s an asset that you can use for a long period of time versus a moment in time that’s gone immediately afterwards”.

Tom Sanders, head of strategy at PLAY Communications thinks differently. He says: “If such a thing is possible, ‘hijacking’ needs to be reclaimed as a word by the marketing community. Rather than suggesting a cheap and talentless jumping on and stealing off someone else’s work, it should be admired as a bold attempt to embed your brand into culture and the cultural community.”

In priming a brand to pull off the perfect hijack, Ford says: “You need hotly contested markets, with hotly contented customers over hotly contested issues.” He likens the strategy to war. “You don’t hijack a plane without planning it, you might get drunk and try to take the cockpit, but 99 time out of a 100, you’ll be restrained. The planning has to be secret, whoever you’re battling can’t know.”

“Hijack marketing seems to scare many brands because it requires spontaneity and risk-taking, which is exactly why it works. It’s a surprise ‘hijacking’ is even a phenomenon – we only notice it because it seems so spontaneous and risky – it’s exactly what brands generally don’t do,” says Sanders.

“It’s more common than we see, but it’s not always done well. Some of the hijacking happens with a belly laugh in the board room – they’re so insular with their messaging they don’t realise the customer’s don’t get it,” explains Ford.

Avoiding events that don’t align with your brand’s message is a good way to avoid hijacking failure. Laney says: “Creating a good brand hierarchy and understanding the content pillars your brand has – that have been prepared for a long time ensures your audiences are used to that message.” With this in place, you can mitigate risk when injecting a hijacking element into your marketing strategy “and ensure the brand is maintaining its direction”.

Latest News

Xero Celebrates The Beautiful Moments Of Small Business In New Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Xero Celebrates The Beautiful Moments Of Small Business In New Campaign

Cloud accounting software provider Xero has revealed the next phase of its ‘Beautiful Business’ brand campaign. The national campaign showcases the moments that define beautiful business, from the flexibility of remote working, to reclaiming valuable time and the chance to focus on the important things in life, enabled by streamlined accounting and business processes. The […]

What Is The Most Misleading Metric In Influencer Marketing Right Now?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

What Is The Most Misleading Metric In Influencer Marketing Right Now?

In this guest post, Natalie Giddings (pictured below), managing director of The Remarkables Group, argues why brands need to stop with the outrageous ‘reach’ claims and tidy up their reporting metrics. I was recently a judge for a couple of local Australian marketing awards. I love giving up my time to do this because I […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia Accepts 10 Start-Ups Into Its Creative Tech Accelerator
  • Technology

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia Accepts 10 Start-Ups Into Its Creative Tech Accelerator

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) has announced the 10 start-ups that have been accepted in its Collider Accelerator. The three-month accelerator is a proud Australian first which is carving the way for start-ups specialising across the creative tech verticals. Commencing this week, the 10 participating companies will receive coaching from international mentors and deep domain […]

The Works Launches Podcast With RXP Services & Global Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Advertising
  • Technology

The Works Launches Podcast With RXP Services & Global Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright

Expert insights on what’s trending in the world of technology, data and innovation will be discussed in a new podcast powered by The Works, digital services consultancy RXP Services, and global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. The Smart Dust podcast – named after micro-electromechanical computers that that can be breathed in to monitor the human […]

Why We Need To Make Consequences Cool
  • Opinion

Why We Need To Make Consequences Cool

Here at B&T, we have a trendy communal black leather jacket for staff to wear while suffering consequences.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Lovatts Media Acquires Nourish Magazine From Blitz Publications
  • Media

Lovatts Media Acquires Nourish Magazine From Blitz Publications

Lovatts Media has purchased Nourish magazine from Blitz Publications in a last-minute deal that has ensured the title continues to be published in Australia. Rachael Northey, CEO of Lovatts Media, believes the demand for high-quality niche magazines is growing rather than declining. Building on the successful 2017 launches of their popular mindfulness titles Breathe, Teen […]

Women In Media Profile: Elaine Herlihy
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Women In Media Profile: Elaine Herlihy

If you've come here looking for Elaine Herlihy's famed scone recipe then it'll be the only disappointment you'll endure.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Thrive PR + Communications Opens Fifth Office & Appoints New Staff
  • Marketing

Thrive PR + Communications Opens Fifth Office & Appoints New Staff

Independent PR agency Thrive PR + Communications has announced the launch of its fifth office, opening its doors permanently on the Gold Coast and making multiple team appointments. In response to client demand, and embracing the growth of Australia’s emerging innovation hotspot, the Gold Coast will be Thrive’s second Queensland location following the opening of […]

China Social Solutions Reveal The Massive Market Brands Are Missing
  • Partner Content

China Social Solutions Reveal The Massive Market Brands Are Missing

Advertising, in its essence, is about reaching the largest number of people, in the most seamless, creative way. However, reaching a large audience can often be the biggest hurdle, so how does a crowd of a few hundred million users sound? Weibo, China’s answer to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and every other app combined, has hit […]

Partner Content

by China Social Solutions logo

How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption
  • Opinion

How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption

Has the age of disruption left you fearful? Well, you'll be singing Helen Reddy's 'I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar' after this.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Monash University And Y&R Melbourne Launch Wristbands To Deter Drink-Spikers
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Monash University And Y&R Melbourne Launch Wristbands To Deter Drink-Spikers

Y&R Melbourne has an innovative wristband on campus at Monash University that detect drugs by simply placing a drop of your drink onto the band itself. Designed for widespread use across festivals, events, bars, nightclubs and other venues where patrons are already accustomed to using wristbands, the ‘Sip Safe’ wristband is equal parts a utility, […]

Global Brand Events Agency INVNT Opens Sydney Office
  • Marketing

Global Brand Events Agency INVNT Opens Sydney Office

Brand events agency INVNT has announced it has expanded its operations to the Asia-Pacific region with a new office in Sydney. Originally founded in New York in 2008 by Scott Cullather and Kristina McCoobery, INVNT creates and produces brand engagements for every audience segment, including employees, customers, partners, investors, the media, and consumers. Cullather said […]

The Copyright Agency Invites Visual Artists To Claim Image Royalties
  • Media

The Copyright Agency Invites Visual Artists To Claim Image Royalties

The Copyright Agency is inviting Australian artists and their heirs to nominate about where their works have been published or used on TV to receive payment for their copyright-protected work as part of a month-long campaign. The Copyright Agency, which recently merged with Viscopy, is Australia’s national copyright licensing organisation for the publishing, media, surveying […]

Pac Mags’ Emily Sak Joins Shopper Media Group As Its First Data & Insights Chief
  • Marketing
  • Media

Pac Mags’ Emily Sak Joins Shopper Media Group As Its First Data & Insights Chief

Digital retail out-of-home media business Shopper Media Group has announced the appointment of Emily Sak to the newly created position of head of data and insights. The new role forms part of Shopper Media Group’s expansion plan to keep up with the accelerated growth that has seen its portfolio surpass more than 220 shopping centres […]

CX Lavender Appoints Business Development Director For Melbourne
  • Marketing

CX Lavender Appoints Business Development Director For Melbourne

Customer experience agency CX Lavender has announced the appointment of Michael Rummery to the role of business development director for Melbourne. Rummery (pictured above) was previously account director of client services at global marketing and digital recruitment firm Aquent, and has held roles at a number of talent agents and recruitment firms with a focus […]

The New York Times Appoints WeThinkMedia As Its Aussie Advertising Rep
  • Advertising
  • Media

The New York Times Appoints WeThinkMedia As Its Aussie Advertising Rep

The New York Times Company has announced the appointment of media representation agency WeThinkMedia to represent its advertising business in Australia. WeThinkMedia will be responsible for all advertising in the region, including print, digital, branded content, programmatic, and events. The partnership will be overseen by Tom Armstrong, vice president of advertising for The New York […]

The Future Of Influencer Marketing: More Than Just A One-Night Stand
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

The Future Of Influencer Marketing: More Than Just A One-Night Stand

Influencers are the new powerhouses in driving stock off shelves, but brands are yet to find the right recipe for successful collaboration, according to Guillaume Deront of Gleam Futures @ The Story Lab (pictured below). Here, he argues that marketers need to look beyond purely targeting an audience and channel their energy towards building long-term […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Designing Cultural And Organisational Change
  • Opinion

Designing Cultural And Organisational Change

In this guest post, Bronwyn Van Der Merwe (pictured below), managing director of Fjord Australia and New Zealand (part of Accenture Interactive), details the four traits of a ‘living business’ – something she believes organisations have to become in order to transform successfully. The digital age has created a plethora of challenges for modern organisations, […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Media

Free TV Calls For ACCC Oversight Of Facebook & Google

In a submission lodged with the ACCC inquiry into digital platforms, industry body Free TV today called for greater regulatory oversight of Facebook and Google. The FreeTV submission identifies a number of key areas of concern: Heavy regulation on traditional media providers and almost none on Facebook and Google Questionable claims about the reach, viewability, […]

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts
  • Media

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts

APN Outdoor has used its annual general meeting to announce three key contract renewals: Transport for Brisbane, Transdev Melbourne and Adelaide & Parafield Airports, for multiple years. Company CEO and managing director, James Warburton, said: “These contracts represent an important part of our advertising offering. The far-reaching impact they provide delivers a compelling proposition and cements our commitment […]

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren

It's the latest in our Women In Media profiles, and this one is so good you'll possibly get a nervous twitch somewhere.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers
  • Marketing
  • Media

LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers

M&C Saatchi Group’s customer engagement specialist agency, LIDA, has crafted an initial eight-episode series of bite-sized animated videos designed to help busy marketers stay ahead of the game. ‘60 Second Gets’ draws on LIDA’s wealth of experience to unpack the latest industry tools, tech and thinking. Launching today, the first video, ‘Success in 6 Seconds’, […]

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking
  • Campaigns

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking

Today Naked launches its ‘Start Talking’ campaign for Gidget Foundation Australia; a not-for-profit that provides support for families who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA). The centrepiece of the campaign is a powerful TVC that brings to life this common, but often hidden illness, and shows how Gidget Foundation’s ‘Start Talking’ telehealth program […]

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums

For the first time ever, AFL spectators will be able to view real-time Telstra Tracker player data via in-stadium LED signage, thanks to the combined efforts of Telstra, Champion Data and MKTG. By integrating the Telstra Tracker data into the LED signage at the MCG and Etihad Stadium, fans will receive contextually relevant information from […]

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering
  • Marketing

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering

Scentre Group has unveiled a new brand look and feel coinciding with the re-launch of the Westfield.com.au and Westfield.co.nz sites. This digital-first visual identity sees a shift towards creating a more contemporary, invigorated and colourful brand, reflective of Westfield’s in-centre experience. The iconic Westfield logo will continue to lead brand communications, supported with a new […]

The Age Of The Ephemeral: Why Experiential Marketing Is Compulsory This Year
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

The Age Of The Ephemeral: Why Experiential Marketing Is Compulsory This Year

In this guest post, Keep Left’s head of consumer engagement, Johanna Murray (pictured below), explains the merits of experiential marketing, as well as sharing some tips on how to do it – and do it well. Humans love to label things – especially intangible things, like time. We like eras and ages and eons because they […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine