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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2022

Chapter 10 Normalizing the New Reality: Newsjacking or Brand Activism?

From the book Volume I Contemporary Trends in Conflict and Communication

  • Ekaterina Bogomoletc


With the COVID-19 pandemic becoming part of our lives, brands are facing the challenge of figuring out appropriate ways to build relationships with their publics as well as to promote their products and services. Drawing upon research on brand activism and newsjacking, this chapter examines public reactions to three campaigns, You Can’t Stop Us by Nike, Socialize Responsibly by Heineken, and Open Like Never Before by Coca Cola. The research is done by analyzing YouTube comments using computational text analysis (N = 4979) and thematic analysis (N = 600). The analysis demonstrated that brands’ publics were more concerned about the political side of the campaigns which might indicate publics’ readiness to negotiate brands’ place in the new reality without viewing their actions as opportunistic. At the same time, the campaigns were perceived as brand activism which brings additional concerns when it comes to the authenticity of companies’ COVID-19 responses. Overall, the chapter explores the broader questions of brands negotiating their place in the new, post-pandemic, world.

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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