Culture-Jacking: Agile Nonprofit Marketing Meets Broadcast TV

I always look forward to the Super bowl. In my family, the Super bowl means getting together with friends, trash talking old friends on Facebook, shushing everyone when the commercials come on, and, if we're lucky, a full-fledges hot dog bar.


The Main Event

I remember last year's Super bowl, when, in the heat of crisis, Komen planned to use the hashtag #Supercure on Twitter during the broadcast. Outraged community members blitzed the conversation with calls to #takebackthePINK. Komen was the first time I thought about NewsJacking, largely thanks to astute posts from Kivi Leroux Miller and Beth Kanter that week.

This year, as opposed to NewsJacking I'm thinking about the Super bowl and other opportunities for Culture-Jacking. Various blogs have applauded Oreo's brilliant tweet during the half hour stadium power outage as a the best example of real time engagement with the frustrated audience annoyed with the game delay. Nancy Schwartz highlights this example to make the case for how organizations can become agile marketers. Marc Pitman laments that more nonprofits don't embrace this approach. Marc points out PBS's similar use of Twitter to promote it's own Downton Abbey broadcastwhich aired during the game delay.


Culture-Jacking Downton Abbey

Marc's mention of Downton Abbey reminded me of another example of Culture-Jacking that impressed me during last week's Downton Abbey broadcast. *Spoiler Alert* Lady Sybil, dies from preeclampsia just after giving birth at the end of the show. The Preeclampsia Foundation were tweeting and posting to Facebook during the show to highlight the dangers of preeclampsia, point out inaccuracies in the way the condition was portrayed on the show, and talk with women who had insight into the side effects of the medications used to prevent preeclampsia.

From the looks of it, the foundation was prepared in advance to lead an informed conversation so I imagine they had a heads-up from the show that Preeclampsia would be relevant to the episode. The tweeted at the start of the show to alert their community that the episode was important. They tweeted during the broadcast, and followed up with Op-Eds and fielded interviews from their executive director, Eleni Tsigas, on major publications.

Seth Godin rightly points outthat the NFL is the most successful and the last general audience creation of the age of mass TV. But there's only one Super bowl. Nonprofits need to embrace the agile marketing approach Nancy and others continue to call for. Culture-jacking is a tactic I anticipate more organizations to embrace.


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