How Oreo Cookies Showed Me The Way To Email Marketing Success

Rick Martinez

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

I’m stuck and don’t know what else I can say in my email today.

Ever felt that way? You know…not knowing what the heck to write for that email blast, and yet you know “writers’ block” is for the other guy and not you?

Yeah. Me too.

Ladies and gents, lemme introduce you to my good friend…Newsjacking.

Newsjacking allows you to piggyback a current, viral news story for massive engagement. Author and marketer David Meerman Scott coined the newsjacking term, and he explains it as “the process of leveraging trending news to elevate your brand’s message.” This legit practice also gives your message and/or offer credibility when done correctly.

So just when do you high-jack newsworthy events and headlines to improve your email marketing?

His website, has identified the perfect place in a news story’s life to attract the most attention to your business. Soon after a story breaks, write and send an email to your subscribers. Add words and phrases relevant to the story in your email subject line to create relevance.

They don’t need to be connected, it’s actually a fun, creative exercise to make them connect though.

Like a power outage and cookies.

Yep. No joke…

Maybe there’s a breaking news story about a wide-spread power outage during one of the biggest sporting events of the year…

But you sell cookies. How in the world can you piggyback this seemingly unrelated story to create exposure to your yummy tasting cookies?

Think creatively.

"When a massive power outage happened in the middle of the 2013 Superbowl, the Oreo cookie company acted quickly. Their message was simple … but extremely effective. They posted a 2 sentence, 4-word tweet on Twitter that received over 15,880 retweets and was favorited more than 6,200 times."

What was the message?

“Power out? No problem. You can still dunk.”

…followed by a link to the Oreo website and a dimly lit picture of an Oreo cookie.

The company has become a newsjacking leader. A simple picture and Tweet (the message was not that creative when you think about it) resulted in over 20,000 actions taken by Twitter users.

The cost of the Tweet? Nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada.

That is the incredible power of newsjacking, and you can use it in your email campaigns as well as on social media. Oreo could have sent a broadcast email to all subscribers with the following subject line… “Missing the Big Game? Take an Oreo Break”.

You could try “While the Game is Blacked Out, Accept This Free Gift On Us”, and offer a free trial subscription, discounted offer, or coupon for a later purchase. The key is to quickly send an email to your list integrating some “late-breaking” news item into your marketing message.

A celebrity losing a lot of weight is perfect for your health or wellness product. It doesn’t matter if that person used your product or not, you can point to the similarities between that news event and what you have to offer. In your email, add a link to your social media accounts and reward a “share” or a “like” with some incentive. It's a fantstic, cutting edge, and ethical way to piggy-back your stuff with thier story.

This harnesses the respect and trust your captive email audience has for you, possibly creating a viral social media situation that can expand your brand presence and reach while your competitors sit on the sidelines.


Sheesh, what a concept.

Now go on now, get after it.

that nurse who writes a lot,

Rick “craving an Oreo now” Martinez

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX

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