Newsjacking and generation Z consumer behavior : Identifying patterns through a comparison with generation Y
Abstract: The term Newsjacking was popularized by David Meerman Scott in his book “The new rules of marketing & PR” (2020). The author describes this practice as a tool for marketers that consists in turning “a breaking news story” into an advertisement (p. 360). One key element to take into consideration with newsjacking is the necessity for this type of commercials to be broadcasted as early as possible. Indeed, breaking news stories are usually not trending for a long time, and thus need to be shared before the trend starts to generate less interest. This is where social media comes in. Scott (2020) explains they are the main playground for most newsjacking advertisements, because of the speed with which they allow marketers to publish content. A major part of social media users is composed of people from the generation Z (Parry, 2021). They were born between 1997 and 2012 and grew up in a world revolving around social media (Dimock, 2019). Yet, despite the large presence on social media of both newsjacking practices and generation Z consumers, there is no research connecting the two of them. This is the gap we seek to study in this research. To address this research gap, we compare generation Z to another one, namely generation Y. To generate a comparison five case studies were done, all of them featuring a different brand and two of their advertisements, one using newsjacking, and the other not. Six people were interviewed, three from generation Z and three from generation Y. The purpose of comparing two generations is to highlight differences in behavior, so that specific preferences in terms of newsjacking advertising can be assigned to generation Z. This research found that generation Z can indeed be targeted with the use of newsjacking. Yet, they have particular preferences that must be taken into consideration. They favor quick-paced social media platforms, and are more sensitive than generation Y about the ethics conveyed in advertising. Hence, the study provides a framework for how marketing professionals can use newsjacking when trying to reach out to generation Z consumers.
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