Newsjacking, Good Taste, and GoDaddy’s Image

Tip of the Week

I guess I still haven’t washed GoDaddy’s idiotic video out of my hair quite yet, even though I’ve already vented on Twitter and on LinkedIn about their outrageous video that was slated for airing on the Super Bowl—and then pulled after (surprise!) a backlash. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch below. But this is the elevator version:

A puppy is thrown from a truck. He valiantly finds his way home to his “family” only to be welcomed by a wicked-voiced human expressing happiness at the little guy’s return—because she’d already sold the dog online.

In my original rants I talked about what cretins these GoDaddy people must be—and there’s no doubt about it: they are. But this is idiocy wrapped in sinister strategy, one they’re clinging to like people without a creative bone in their bodies must do.

Why is this newsjacking?

Because GoDaddy’s marketing hacks know that the movement to end puppy mills is a big issue right now. So they decided it would be “funny” to turn that news on its head by taking a tragic situation and turning it into a frat joke.

The last time GoDaddy made the news was when they were called to the carpet for their disrespectful images of women—another issue about which serious people like Malala Yousafzai, Sheryl Sandberg and Hilary Clinton, to name but a few, try to raise awareness.

Can good taste be taught?

Absolutely. Making the news at the cost of others is a bad strategy. One way to ensure you’re on the right side of good taste is to ask yourself: Does this news I’m attaching myself to have anything at all to do with my brand? If the answer is no, not without fabricating a connection like GoDaddy did, it may be a clue that you’re cheaping out, which in the end means you’re not showing respect for your own brand. In that case it’s best to go back to the storyboard and start over.


The Art of Newjacking

Tip of the Week

Newsjacking is a hack that holds great promise for today’s crowdfunder. It is a method of gaining exposure to your campaign by riding on the coattails of a breaking news story that has an organic connection to your own idea. The goal is to generate buzz for your campaign that you would never have been able to get on your own. Think of it as a form of cross-promotion in which you reap the benefits of someone else’s popularity.

This isn’t as opportunistic as it sounds. Well, maybe it is, but anyone who posts content, including commenting on social media about a current event, is already a newsjacker.

Hitching a ride to a relevant news story isn’t as much of a crapshoot as you might think. Want an example of newjacking? I recently newsjacked when I learned that Georgia Tech announced a study they just completed on how the language Kickstarter project creators use in their pitches affect whether people will open up their wallet or not. Since my crowdfunding focus is all about the importance of good storytelling, I jumped on it. Within 24 of reading about it I wrote this.

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