This is how you Hype-Jack! The Tactics of a Smart Marketer

(This post was originally published on – This is how you Hype-Jack! The Tactics of a Smart Marketer on Nov 7, 2012)

Marketers are looking to create hype all the time. But, Smart Marketers are looking for the hype to hi-jack on. They just Hype-jack! The more official term for this phenomenon is “News-jacking”, but I somehow prefer “Hype-Jacking” for the intent, for the relevance today, and for the simple phonetics!

Why hype? Marketers spend tremendous amount of effort on establishing reach for their message. Hype-jacking, if done well, can get you the required attention; and if done brilliantly, can get you an enormous fan following! This is even more important to get the TOFU (Top-of-the-Funnel) set that you can nurture through the new-age content marketing mechanisms.

PBS pulled off a killer hype-jack last month.

During Presidential debate, Mitt Romney asserted that that even though he “loves Big Bird,” he still intended to defund PBS if PBS hype-jacks presidential debateelected president. So far so good, but a Big Bird Internet Meme was soon born, with enormous support for Big Bird. “Big Bird”was the “fourth” most popular term after “Romney”, “Obama”, and “debate” on the day.

What happened next shows the brilliance and agility of PBS hype-jacking. Within hours after the “Big Bird” quote, and while Twitter was running amok with the trending, PBS bought the phrase “Big Bird” on Twitter to run their sponsored Tweet.

What’s also more important, apart from timeliness, is the relevance of the message and the fact that it was targeted to ride on the virality factor and build up an ever-growing support for their cause, with a perfectly coordinated message on the Tweet and the Landing Page.

PBS - Messaging

PBS – Messaging on the Landing Page…

This hype-jack was very effective, due to the following:

  • Agility of PBS &Timeliness of the action,just around the peak of the trending
  • Almost no direct competition to the Event “Presidential Debate”, to the keyword “Big Bird”, as well as to the PBS action
  • Relevance to the event, “Big Bird” and PBS were directly quoted by Romney
  • Consistent & powerful Messaging
  • In-built Virality and Social Connect with the phrases of “Please Retweet” and also the sharing options at Landing Page

Another perfect Hype-jack rode the much-hyped battle between iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy SIII, and it comes from a quarter that has nothing to do with the technology and mobility. Check this out!

Blendtec Video responseThe winner of the contest was neither Apple nor Samsung, but Blendtec! This video trended on Youtube, and across the social media, with tremendous blog coverage, with more than 6 millions views within days! And, at what Cost? Touching zero, except for price of the two phones that were destroyed in the process! Phenomenal returns.The power of hype-jacking!

Hype-jacking is not easy; it requires one to keep the nose on the ground, sniffing opportunities for such cost-effective coup. And you can’t do that while being deeply buried in the marketing operations. Nor is it a fluke. An effective hype-jacking may not be planned in advance, but can be achieved with a constant tab on the market, a spark of brilliance, and a rapid-fire action.


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