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Newsjacking the Weather: A Social Media Win for Wendy’s

Dowitcher Designs HQ may be located in sunny Santa Barbara, CA, but we’re not disconnected from the rest of the country. And for the past few days we’ve been hearing all about this nasty arctic air mass that’s dipped down from, well, the arctic, and right into the middle of the continental US.

It’s news-worthy, for sure. Today, alone, at least 45 daily record lows were shattered. And I didn’t even need to check the news to know — social media saw to that.

Scrolling through my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, I’m currently seeing a relentless stream of screen captures from my Chicago friends’ weather apps as proof the record-breaking cold temperatures outside (can you imagine it “feeling like” -45 F?).

Even my friends further down south are experiencing highly unusual lows — and yes, I’m seeing more of the same evidence circulating in my feeds:


So when this popped up in my Twitter feed today, you can imagine it had my attention:


Now, I don’t follow Wendy’s, so the only reason I saw this is because a friend had retweeted it. And my friend doesn’t follow Wendy’s, either — someone she follows had retweeted it from someone else, and so on. The epitome of virality.

Here’s the tweet with the full image, which Wendy’s mocked up to look like an Instagram post:


This is the best example I’ve seen in a while of a brand using social media, and I’ll tell you why.

What Wendy’s got right

Successful newsjacking

“Newsjacking” is when a content creator uses a current news event as a vehicle to spread their content. And what’s most of the country talking about right now? Weather. +1 for you, Wendy’s.

Not only timely, but funny

Wendy’s pulled double duty here by not only glomming on to the already massively-popular topic of cold weather, but using the “weather app screenshot” format to poke gentle fun at the trend. Followers immediately made the connection — and appreciated the joke.

Good content gets shared

Boy, does it. At the time I published this, Wendy’s post had 826 retweets and 940 favorites on Twitter, and 264 shares on Facebook. In comparison, their Facebook post from yesterday only got 14 shares.

Attention to detail

Twitter’s image preview function is only two months old, but Wendy’s made sure to format the “weather app” image in such a way so that all the important details showed even in the cropped version.


Scrolling through their Twitter replies, I found myself appreciating the Wendy’s “voice.” Here are some examples:


Nice work all around.

This, friends, is how brands should do social media. And you don’t have to be a big brand to pull it off, either. As long as you can think quickly and creatively, you can create content that people will want to share, too.

Happy marketing!

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