This was a fantastic example of effective newsjacking that was culturally relevant and delivered astonishing reach – building a cultural meme is no mean feat for a consumer brand. The judges were also impressed with how Huawei pulled back relevance with a commercial lens through their partnership with M&S, building on their viral success whilst also delivering business revenue.


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Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world – but in summer 2018 was relatively unknown in the UK.

Our brief was to generate mass awareness of the brand by tapping into culture. The World Cup provided the perfect opportunity for this – but as a non-sponsor wanting to hijack a heavily guarded conversation, we needed to out-smart the pack and ensure we delivered product messages, not just noise.

The idea, research and planning:

Social-led newsjacking allows us to insert Huawei into the conversations that matter to consumers while promoting the brand and its key products. We’re constantly on the lookout to find a topic of conversation in which Huawei has the authority to comment and a creative execution that’ll resonate, guided by our newsjacking filter:

  • Is it a Huawei Story?
  • Does the story allow us to talk about AI, performance (battery), or photography?
  • Can the story be leveraged to communicate the ‘make it possible’ spirit?
  • Does the story carry tension to create a talking point… without being offensive?
  • Does it culturally connect with the Huawei P and/or the Mate audience?
  • Can Huawei own the story? NEWSJACK Is it media ready?
  • Is the story being covered by media already or is it driving conversation on social?
  • Are journalists scrambling for more information / wanting to build the story further?
  • Have you road tested the story with a friendly contact / member of a different team?
  • Can you describe the story in one tweet? NEWSJACK

As buzz around the England squad grew, Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat was also becoming a big talking point. With ‘It’s Coming Home’ becoming an increasingly common refrain, we used a movement of growing confidence and conversation around the England football team to highlight a key feature of the Huawei product. We Photoshopped ‘It’s Coming Home’ sewn into Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat – people would only see the embroidery with a Huawei P20 Pro phone and the world’s first 5x hybrid zoom Leica smartphone camera.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

Posted just before England’s first knock-out game against Columbia, the asset was quickly shared far and wide. It was also picked up by a number of media outlets, but one of the biggest providers of online content, SportsBible, posted the image with the Huawei branding cropped out. As more people shared the cropped version, we faced an uphill battle to regain the share of voice and ensure Huawei was back at the heart of the conversation.

Working with Huawei we moved quickly to take the conversation back to social media and lobbied M&S, the provider of the England team’s suits, to give fans what they want and make the ‘It’s Coming Home’ waistcoat for real. M&S also saw the opportunity and were happy to continue the conversation with us online as fans got excited about the campaign. We then got to work turning the meme into a reality, searching far and wide to find someone who could make the waistcoat for real.


To ensure Huawei remained at the centre of the conversation, we leaked images and video of the waistcoat ‘in production’ to The Sun, a key title in carrying the England conversation prior to the quarter-final game against Sweden. Other titles quickly picked up on the development and mass coverage ensued.

Within eight days the idea turned into a Huawei and M&S partnership, a limited number of waistcoats were made for real, media coverage spanned worldwide and one lucky England fan had the chance to win it in time for the semi-final.

Cultural zeitgeist Paddington Bear also got in on the action wearing his own ‘It’s Coming Home’ waistcoat as well as replicas popping up on Amazon.

Measurement and evaluation:

  • Total social media reach of 595m
  • Total media reach of 317m
  • Coverage in key titles including The Sun, Daily Mirror, Mail Online, Good Morning Britain
  • 9% increase in social share of voice vs competitors during the World Cup, despite not being an official partner
  • 8% increase in positive brand sentiment
  • The only branded post to make it into the Daily Telegraph’s top 10 World Cup memes.

“The waistcoat was a great example of how positive quick-thinking PR can jump on something as simple as an internet meme and end up with a funny, eye-catching news report within a couple of days.” Tom Hutchison, Daily Star.

“It was great to work with Mischief and Huawei on this campaign. The waistcoat really tapped into a cultural moment of the World Cup. The content we received from the brand transferred this from a social meme to a real news narrative which worked across our social channels too. We worked together to create exclusive & bespoke copy that we knew would appeal to our readers and tap into the pre-ENGvSWE buzz and excitement. The news copy was shared widely and our Instagram posts pulled in 2,635 likes which is a great result.” James Robinson, The Sun.

Budget and campaign impact:

£14.7K (£10K FEE, £4.7K COST).

A piece of branded creative content for owned channels became one of the biggest memes of the summer for one of the biggest cultural moments of the year, the World Cup – despite not being an official partner. When the Huawei brand began to get lost in the conversation we pulled it back by getting a major high street retailer – and England team partner – to make a photoshopped meme into a reality.

“It was great to see a simple newsjack quickly become one of the biggest memes and subsequently campaigns of the summer. Through a considered media approach, the team ensured Huawei remained at the heart of the conversation where it could have easily been lost. The campaign and development of the waistcoats and the conversation around it enabled us to place one of our key products at the forefront in a way that wasn’t contrived and ultimately resonated.” Justin Costello, Huawei Director of Marketing, UK and Ireland.