Teddy Fresh and Newsjacking: Raising Funds for Uvalde Victims

The US has its fair share of political and social turmoil that makes their way into the news and become much discussed issues. With the increased use of social media, and the fact that consumers are much more active and can easily state their opinions, companies are now more expected to listen to their consumers and take action. This, and the fact that younger consumers like Millenials and Gen-Z have a higher social and political expectation of the companies they purchase from, gives many companies the opportunity to take advantage of newsjacking.

What is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is a term coined by marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, and is defined as “the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand.” This happens often, as many companies will use current events to steer new marketing strategies, or created products based on them.

Teddy Fresh and Newsjacking

Teddy Fresh, an apparel company, recently had an instance of newsjacking, when it came to the Uvalde shooting. This elementary school shooting in Uvalde, TX took place on May 24th, and saw the murder of 19 children and two teachers at the hands of 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. This was the deadliest school shooting in the US in the last 10 years, and sparked a new set of debates on the lack of gun control in the country.

Teddy Fresh, following the shooting, released a shirt with the phrase “Gun Reform Now,” pictured below. They advertised this shirt across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, where they showed an image of the shirt and stated that all of the profits made from the shirt would be donated to the victims of the Uvalde shooting. This is newsjacking because the company used the shooting to bring attention to their brand, even though they weren’t going to keep the profits made from the shirt.

The Positives of Teddy Fresh’s Newsjacking

Newsjacking is beneficial because of the attention it brings to the companies. Though it’s not always done right, when it is, it helps companies gain support and new customers, which is what happened with Teddy Fresh. Through the sale and creation of this shirt, Teddy Fresh positioned itself as a charitable and socially conscious brand that is willing to speak on controversial issues and make their position known. It appealed to the younger generations and those that are conscious about the political positions of the companies they purchase from, and made them supporters. It also helped outsiders who were affected by the tragedy to get involved and donate to the community suffering from the horrible event, while being able to further show their support through the shirt.

How I Feel

To me, newsjacking is tricky. I understand that companies have to stay relevant and that using the news can be a great way to connect to new audiences, but it often feels unethical to me, especially in the cases of mass tragedy. Gun violence is a massive problem in the country, with mass shootings happening constantly. As of July 4th, there have been 314 mass shootings in the US, and policy hasn’t been changed to improve gun control in this country.

My problem here lies in the fact that the company isn’t donating on their own. By having consumers purchase an item and donating profits, it helps the company look charitable without doing as much. Yes, they spend on the creation and advertising of the product, but they give the money made after they’ve gained back what they spent, which is why they specify that it’s only profits that are being donated. They’re essentially taking your money but donating it with their own names on it. They also get tax breaks when it comes to this money, helping them out even more.

I know it’s still a nice thing to do, and that the money made went a long way to help the victims of the shooting, but it would be more impactful if the company donated of their own accord, instead of using new profit made from their customers.

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Jarisa Mora

Jarisa Mora

NYU grad student studying Integrated Marketing. Passionate about intersectionality, communication, and all things New York.