Online Marketing – Doing a John Terry

Anyone watching the Europa League Final on TV last night will have been impressed by the last-gasp winner scored by Chelsea. Far less impressive however was the trophy presentation after the match. As you would expect, the entire Chelsea squad filed past the assembled dignitaries, collected their winners’ medals and lifted the cup. But what you may not expect was John Terry’s quick costume change at the final whistle.


Having been sidelined with an injury, John Terry failed to make even the substitutes bench for the Cup Final. He was therefore sat in the Chelsea technical area in suit and tie watching the match, effectively just another spectator. However after Ivanovic’s winning goal, Terry felt the need to change into his playing kit (complete with shinpads) to collect his medal.


Terry’s contribution to the winning cup run is undeniable. But why he felt the need to put on his playing shirt and shorts to collect a trophy remains a mystery. A quick glance at Twitter last night showed that Terry had become the laughing stock of the nation thanks to his “me too” antics.


But why does any of this matter to your content marketing efforts? Because of a new marketing/PR technique known as “newsjacking“.


Newsjacking involves using a current theme or trend as a vehicle to promote your company. Twitter is a fantastic place to get a hold on public sentiment and tailor a marketing message to suit. But newsjacking is so very easy to get wrong.


If the hook of your newsjack attempt is tenuous, your message looks like an instantly-forgettable attempt at “me too”. You look like John Terry – all the kit but in the wrong place at the wrong time. The worst that happens is your message is ignored and forgotten. Do it on the world stage however and you could be the source of reputation-crushing scorn – just ask John Terry.


Terry is now the star of a series of memes showing him celebrating victories in which he played no part, dressed in his full Chelsea kit. If your brand was on the receiving end of similar sarcasm, recovering your reputation may be impossible.


When considering newsjacking, take these tips from Terry:

  • If simply providing comment on a current story, make it clear that you were not directly involved.
  • If capitalising on a current trend, make sure your copy demonstrates your knowledge and experience.
  • Keep it relevant!
  • Don’t dress up and pretend you played a pivotal role.


And one final point. If and when you do make a newsjacking mistake, learn from it! John Terry had previous form when it came to dressing up to collect cups after matches he did not play in; he did exactly the same thing after the 2012 Champions’ League Final. It is therefore little wonder Terry now has his own hashtag on Twitter (Warning! Salty language). Don’t make the same mistakes mistake. Don’t be a John Terry.


If you would like help with getting your own newsjacking attempts underway without becoming a John Terry, get in touch. And I promise I’ll never wear a full football kit to your awards ceremony.