“Our favourites” – Newsjacking or how to communicate with humor and derision

Marie Sauvestre Social Media Manager
Story – Summary of TBEX Asia Pacific
7 November 2016
Raphaëlle Amaudric Account Director
Live my life of… Raphaëlle, Public Relations Director
7 December 2016
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“Our favourites” – Newsjacking or how to communicate with humor and derision

Justine Herbinet

“Our favourites”
Newsjacking or how to communicate with humor and derision

In a very competitive environment, brands have to stretch their imagination and creativity in order to stand out from the crowd.

As a consequence, some choose to use the news to hit customers. Indeed, the news are a source of unlimited and diversified content (culture, sport, religion, economy…) that reaches almost everyone around. Add to this a few scandals and you get the perfect mix for advertisers to thrive!

Every day, we are literally surrounded by adverts, so that special one that makes us smile has the best chances to be memorized, in addition to giving us some fresh air which is what we like!

Therefore, we become a super ambassador for the brand because, as you may know, humor is viral. Humor is emotion, it makes the brand instantly become more human, friendlier and even likeable. As a consequence we share, we post, and we tweet, because we want others to laugh with us.

And it works! Boldness and impertinence pay and consumers are even asking for some more!

The tourism industry was not the first one to get into what we now call “news jacking”, but tourism advertisers quickly understood how to use best the news in a humoristic way to create a buzz. And each brand comes with its personal touch.

Sixt, the German rental car brand, does not hesitate to use politic polemics to get itself talked about. Pretty bold, isn’t it? And Mr Hollande, Sarkozy and Copé will not contradict us…

Sixt - Newsjacking

“Mr President, next time, do not use a scooter, Sixt rents cars with tinted windows” – A reference to Mr Hollande, French president, who got caught riding a scooter at night to meet with his mistress.

“Sorry Mr Sarkozy, in France you get passed from the left” – A reference to the last French elections when the left wing candidate beat Mr Sarkozy, right wing candidate.

“Dear Mr Copé, rent your BMW car from 290 pains au chocolat per day” – A reference to a recent faux pas of Mr Copé, candidate to the next French presidential elections, who estimated the price of the famous French pain au chocolat to 10 cents (which is far from reality).


Airlines got into the move as well such as Norwegian. Angelina had barely filed for divorce when the low cost company was already launching a special offer on flights to Los Angeles. Simple but effective, the advert got viral on social networks. Ryanair even made polemics its trademark, like with its campaign anti-Brexit, offering a special price to British expatriates who would choose to go back to their homeland during the vote.

Ryanair & Norwegian


Even institutional tourist companies are getting on with it, such as the Regional Committee for Tourism of the Loire Valley region, which picked on on the numerous strikes that affected several economic sectors a few months ago in France.

CRT Loire

“We no longer have gas, nor train, and soon no more electricity but we still have the Loire by bike”

More recently, it is the election of Donald Trump at the United States presidential election, a much covered event, that inspired advertisers worldwide.

But newsjacking has to be used with caution and some brands have already flown to close to the sun. As a consequence, brands are getting wiser, realizing it is not that easy to be a Ryanair or a Sixt advertiser!

By the way, if you are still waiting for Sixt’s reaction to the American vote, you could be waiting for a while as the brand seems to be pretty timorous faced to the perspective of a lawsuit from Mr Trump. And, as their advertising agency recently declared: “the brand is brave but not that brave”.

It seems like humor and news make a cocktail to be enjoyed responsibly and with a certain dose of dexterity.

Meanwhile, the rest of us appreciates when tourism brands take risks in their advertising campaigns, and especially when it makes us laugh.

Last but not least, here is one more just for you:

Justine Herbinet

Justine Herbinet

Account Executive

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