By Manik Rege

Read: 12 mins.


Social media is where all the customers & clients live now. And we marketers are working overtime to keep up … as if they gave us a choice. If we don’t build a strong digital presence, we’re either going to be left behind in the conversation, or risk having no control over it when our brands’ names pop up.

In fact, these new platforms – like Instagram, Facebook & Twitter – have given rise to a whole new genre of communication called “moment marketing.”

Moment marketing is when brands or creators on social media make references or react to current events, pop culture, trending topics, hashtags, or post formats.

It’s a way of looking relevant, witty, young & socially aware online. It’s also called:

  • Topical advertising
  • Newsjacking
  • Contextual content

One of the earliest legendary cases of this technique takes us back to 2013. There was a power outage at a Superbowl football match in New Orleans. Oreo, the cookie expert, latched on to the moment with a funny tweet. It was applauded by all the fans in the stadium, and has now become a classical case study of getting social media right for businesses.

In the Indian context, Amul was one of the first big players to master it, leading with their utterly-butterly print adverts since 1966. But if we’re talking digital, Zomato popularized it with their signature “white text on red” punny posters since 2014.

Today, almost every company from every industry has newsjacking on top of their priority list but only few have emerged as quality champions who know how to play the game well. Their feeds are worth a look…


2 Types of Events

If you do study their posts carefully, you’ll notice that they dabble into 2 kinds of trends in general:

  1. Predictable
  2. Unpredictable

Firstly, there are certain recurring yearly events that marketer’s can predict with ease, and therefore, prepare for strongly well in advance. Examples include public holidays, festivals, cultural and sports events, birthdays of famous folks, anniversaries, etc.

Brands will usually perform by celebrating the seasons/festivals with flash deals or discounts, or by wishing the birthday boys and girls in a bid to appease the celebrity’s niche fanbase. As always, the goal is to get visibility and engagement by using the relevant hashtags but only this time, you can actually see ’em coming.

I have compiled a list of such predictable moments in a separate blog post.


Secondly, and much harder to play with, are unpredictable trends, which pop out of nowhere, and brands only get a few hours or a day at most to react with creativity. These trends pass as fast as they come. Think of a meme that rises to the top, floods your wall, and then dies the next day (shocked Pikachu face).

Or think of certain news events that generate massive but short-lived buzz, like a celebrity goofing up (Donald Trump’s “chaiwala” slip-up in his speech), a much-waited product release (iPhone 11 pricy release), or a catchy song lyric that gets everyone grooving (Ariana Grande’s ‘I see it, I like it, I want it, I bought it’).

These “moments” demand marketers to constantly monitor social media and quickly jump on the bandwagon with their entries. I have compiled a rolling LIVE list of such trends in my Google Sheet here along with the best case studies for each. I update on a daily basis.

So without further ado, I give you the digital marketer’s viral trends tracker.

(Short link: bit.ly/Manik-Trends)

Hope it helps!

That concludes today’s discussion on unpredictable moments. Did I miss any important case studies from recent history? Which ones did you enjoy the most, and which brands do you think are rocking the technique? Let me know in the comments below!

And do share this Google Sheet calendar link with your colleagues in the industry so that we can see more wonderful and innovative content on our feeds as more of us understand the language of newsjacking!

Wish you all the best & happy creating!