From breaking news to marketing the moment: The GenZ way of seeking information

Naheed Akhtar and Hamsini Shivakumar of Leapfrog Strategy Consulting, write that while the immediacy and the desire to be the first to inform or sell a moment remain unchanged, the focus has shifted from being a passive source of information to being an active participant in the cultural conversation

Hamsini Shivakumar
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In the fast-paced and interconnected world of today, the dissemination of information has undergone a significant transformation. In the not-so-distant past, the focus was on delivering breaking news, being the first to inform the citizens about what was happening in the world. But now, it's not just about providing information; it's about selling the moment. The competition is fierce, and the pressure to be the first to inform or sell a moment is more intense than ever. It's all about who gets noticed by the audience first.

The traditional paradigm of breaking news:

Traditionally, the news industry revolved around being the bearer of breaking news. Newspapers, radio, and television networks competed fervently to report the latest events as they happened. The race to be the first to deliver updates on politics, disasters, wars, and cultural happenings was the lifeblood of journalism. Journalists were driven by a sense of duty to keep the public informed, educated, and engaged. There’s been a shift in the way information is disseminated. Earlier information was reported as is but today, the information is created, and dramatised to get more and more traction. What was once a human need to learn about the world's affairs is today a machine-made mechanic wherein we are trying our level best to sync with the TRP and algorithms to stay at the top.

Gen Z: A shift in news consumption:

However, with the advent of the digital age and the rise of social media, Gen Z has ushered in a new era of information consumption. For this generation, it's no longer solely about being the first to inform, but also about catering to their desire for instant gratification. Gen Z seeks news and content that is readily available, easily digestible, and relevant to their lives.

The rise of moment marketing:

Today, marketing the moment has taken centre stage. It isn't just about breaking news; it's about creating emotional connections with the audience by capitalising on cultural and emotional moments. Gen Z, in particular, has a penchant for trending topics, viral memes, and cultural conversations. Brands and media outlets are vying to align themselves with these moments, not just as sources of information but as active participants in the conversations that matter most to their audience.

Recently, during the India vs. Pakistan World Cup 2023 match, print ads of MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip stirred the sentiments of the netizens.

The MakeMyTrip marketing activity capitalised on the cricket rivalry which is culturally significant and emotionally charged. But received a heavy backlash because it didn’t seem to strike chords of national harmony and appreciate the spirit of the sport as it was mocking Pakistani fans and predicting that they would lose the match. The Cleartrip content on the other hand was a  response to MakeMyTrip's ad and took a different approach. It criticised MakeMyTrip's divisive ad and positioned itself as a more inclusive and unbiased brand. Cleartrip uses semiotics to challenge the divisive aspects of the moment, portraying itself as a brand that values unity and inclusivity. The impact:

Cleartrip's response can be seen as an attempt to gain a moral high ground in the eyes of the audience. It leverages the divisive moment created by MakeMyTrip's marketing gimmick to make its own stand, aiming to appeal to consumers who value unity and tolerance.

 Links to the marketing initiatives:

MakeMyTrip World Cup print marketing activity:

Clear Trip’s response to the MakeMyTrip marketing gimmick:

The pressure of instant gratification:

The pressure on brands to engage in moment marketing and to go viral is relentless, driven in large part by Gen Z's demand for instant gratification. In the age of 24-hour news cycles and the endless scroll of social media feeds, it's a constant battle for attention and engagement. Brands are no longer competing with each other; they are also competing with the vast sea of user-generated content that Gen Z navigates through daily.

The quest for top-of-mind recall:

In the era of moment marketing, the ultimate prize is top-of-mind recall. Brands that can successfully insert themselves into the cultural zeitgeist or a trending conversation achieve a level of recognition and influence that extends far beyond the moment itself. For Gen Z, this kind of marketing resonates strongly, leading to deeper brand loyalty, increased sales, and a more profound emotional connection with the audience.

In conclusion, the evolution from breaking news to “marketing the moment” signifies a fundamental change in the way information is shared and consumed. While the immediacy and the desire to be the first to inform or sell a moment remain unchanged, the focus has shifted from being a passive source of information to being an active participant in the cultural conversation.

Gen Z's insistence on instant gratification has played a pivotal role in this transformation as we all are looking for answers. The channel or the medium that answers our questions in the fastest way is preferred. Today, it's not just journalism or marketing; each of these cohorts falls under one big umbrella, which is content. The way in which content is capitalised on and tailored to fabricate the trend or match the mind-space of the consumer is supreme.

Before the word ‘moment marketing’ was coined, Amul, the Indian dairy industry leader, was hailed as a trailblazer in real-time marketing. Since 1976, they have consistently published topical advertisements in the form of newspaper columns, prominently showcasing their beloved brand mascot, the Amul Girl. When it comes to leveraging the latest news and current events to their advantage, Amul truly stands out as an expert.

Today, food delivery and OTT streaming platform biggies such as Zomato and Netflix are acing this game.

Zomato with its font faces and colour scheme intact, uses word-play at its best. The brand efficiently uses metaphors and humour and knows how to stir social media through its simple yet impactful copy.


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Netflix India on the other hand knows how to get their audience glued to their shows by making the best out of the trending moments. Their crossovers are not only humorous acts as trailers or sneak peeks at the shows, making the audience curious and leading them to watch the show.


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As technology and consumer behaviour continue to evolve, the power of moment marketing has become an essential strategy for businesses seeking to thrive in a fiercely competitive digital environment. The ability to capture and leverage the essence of a moment is not just a marketing tactic; it's a new way of engaging, connecting, and ultimately thriving in the digital age.

content MakeMyTrip Radio Zomato Hamsini Shivakumar Leapfrog Strategy Consulting marketing audience television breaking news moment marketing Genz Clear Tip