Executive Rewind: When Marketing Qualifies as News

In August, 2014, I wrote a post about the intersection between news and marketing. For the most part, that post centered on thinking of your news opportunities like marketing: frequency is critical to getting messages heard.

But, as I noted, it’s important to maintain a clear line between these two types of message delivery vehicles. However, there are times when one complements and reinforces the other. What’s important is that the marketing issue has a newsworthy hook to it. If it does, the news media often will “bite” and give you an avenue through this intersection.

Aflac Insurance has made its duck a brand, and that brand has garnered its own news stories. Other brands have had similar success. The Chick-fil-A cows are another good example.

But sometimes, it’s a new business product that qualifies to crossover from marketing to news. For instance, Aflac has made news with a plan to pay off a policy holder in one day, an apparent breakthrough concept that’s pretty much unheard of up to now. So, when Aflac CEO Dan Amos went on CNBC recently, he didn’t even have to bring it up himself:

There definitely is news value in Aflac’s plan. And in a later comment, Amos even got in a plug for the Grammys, where he’ll be running commercials promoting the new policy.

Now, you do need to be careful. Too often marketing slogans are used in messaging during news interviews. I can tell you as a former reporter, I found that annoying. Most reporters won’t–or shouldn’t–fall for that. News value has got to be your first, and overriding, litmus test.

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