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How WFAA’s Viral Weather Moment Can Mean Increased Visibility for Your Brand Advertising

Can your brand benefit from leaning into viral moments? Aligning advertising with local news and viral moments can be a powerful strategy to connect with your audience, increase brand visibility, and stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: October 10, 2023

From the “Apparently Kid” taking the world by storm in 2014 to the more recent Texas weather report showing 101105 degrees in McKinney, local news is no stranger to light-hearted and viral moments. This type of brand exposure is certainly good for ratings as it boosts the visibility of local stations and their personalities, and brands advertising alongside this content can benefit, too.   

That’s because aligning advertising strategies with local news and viral moments allows them to tap into current events and trends, connect with their target audience on a more personal level, and enhance their brand visibility.   

Want to know more? Let’s dive into all the ins and outs of marketing alongside viral, local news content.  

The Halo Effect with Local News Personalities 

WFAA’s Meteorologist, Pete Delkus, is a public figure everyone trusts … and blames for lousy weather, illustrated in the spot above, titled “Thanks, Delkus.”  

All jokes aside, millions of viewers turn to TEGNA meteorologists for accurate, real-time weather forecasts to make informed decisions about their day, and personalities like Delkus have created a unique and trusted bond with local viewers in the communities they serve.  

In fact, TVB found that local broadcast news is the most trusted platform among viewers. With the halo effect extending to brands that advertise alongside local news, studies show consumers are more likely to trust – and buy from – these brands.  

Therefore, it’s proven that associating with local news and showing involvement in the community can create positive associations for the brand and enhance the brand’s image and reputation in the eyes of the public, which can foster a sense of loyalty and support among local viewers.   

Bottom line? Local news stations provide a halo effect to their advertising partners.  

5 Benefits of Viral Moment Alignment 

When fun and light-hearted moments go viral, like when Delkus had some fun with a typo on the heat index map, TEGNA, WFAA, and Delkus become all that anyone can talk about. By associating with viral content – something that often happens with local news – brands can benefit in a number of ways.  

1. Increased Visibility and Reach 

Viral moments rapidly gain widespread attention and engagement through a number of channels. It could be through social media platforms, user-generated content, influencer amplification, an algorithmic boost, or word-of-mouth. Brands can leverage these windows of increased visibility to gain exposure to a much larger and more diverse audience than they might otherwise reach.  

2. Emotional Connections 

Several successful TV ads create emotional connections with the audience. Viral moments are similar in that they have a unique ability to create emotional connections with audiences due to several key factors

  • Relatability: Viral moments often revolve around universal themes, experiences, or emotions many people can relate to. When individuals see content that reflects their thoughts, feelings, or experiences, it resonates personally, creating an immediate emotional connection.
  • Emotional Appeal: Many viral moments evoke strong emotions such as laughter, joy, surprise, anger, or empathy. These emotions can be contagious, and when people engage with content that triggers these feelings, they feel a deeper connection to the content and the source that shared it.
  • Positive Impact: Some viral moments involve acts of kindness, generosity, or social change. When people see that a viral moment is making a positive impact or promoting a cause they care about, they can feel emotionally connected to the content and the values it represents.
  • Shared Experience: Seeing that others are also reacting to and sharing the same content reinforces a sense of belonging and community. This shared experience fosters a connection with others who are part of the viral moment.
  • Human Stories: Viral moments often feature real-life stories or human experiences that people can empathize with. When an audience sees authentic human stories, they are more likely to connect emotionally with the content and the individuals involved. 

3. Increased Engagement 

Viral moments, by definition, have the potential to reach a large and diverse audience quickly. Not only can brands that align with these moments benefit from the wider reach and exposure that comes with it, but they can also tap into the existing conversation and generate higher levels of engagement with their audience, whether on-air, on social media, or at work by the water cooler.  

This content alignment can also help brands stay relevant and timely in advertising. This ensures that their messaging is up-to-date, current, relatable, in touch with the zeitgeist, and resonates with their target audience’s current interests and concerns, which can enhance their brand’s cultural relevance and appeal. 

4. Cost-Effective Marketing 

Piggybacking on local news and viral moments can be cost-effective. It allows brands to capitalize on existing trends and discussions without extensive advertising budgets. Viral moments often require less advertising than traditional campaigns because they naturally gain traction and attention. Brands can benefit from the content’s virality without investing heavily in promotion or trying to force their creative teams into crafting the perfect viral moment.  

5. Brand Awareness and Recall 

Viral content tends to be memorable, and when brands align themselves with such content, they increase the likelihood that consumers will remember their brand. This heightened brand awareness can increase recall when consumers make purchasing decisions. 

4 Content Opportunity Types 

Viral moments, by their very nature, occur naturally and organically. They cannot be manufactured or forced through conventional marketing or advertising strategies. That’s because they are rooted in authenticity. They often emerge from genuine, unscripted, relatable content that resonates with people. Attempting to manufacture a viral moment can come across as inauthentic and insincere, which is a turn-off for audiences. 

Therefore, we recommend regularly aligning with local news teams to increase the chances that your brand is aligned with the next viral moment. Here are a few options with TEGNA stations via broadcast, streaming, and digital platforms.   

1. Sports Sponsorships 

For advertisers, local sports content sponsorships and alignment present a high-powered opportunity to align messaging with moments of passion, excitement, community, and competitive spirit. On top of the likelihood that a handful of viral moments in the sports world at all levels, a poll from C4 found sports advertising to be beneficial for brands in many other ways, including:    

  • Trusted: 89% see sponsor brands on TV as more trustworthy than other forms of advertising​.  
  • Premium Perception: 76% of viewers feel that TV sponsorship is a more expensive form of advertising, and in turn, 91% perceive sponsoring brands to be more premium. 
  • Purchase Intent: Among those who recalled the sponsorships, 54% said they were more likely to buy a sponsor’s product.​  

2. Weather 

Every morning, millions of viewers nationwide tune into their local newscasts for the daily forecast. These viewers trust their meteorologists to deliver accurate and real-time weather information because they ground their communities with a commitment to local needs and causes. This involvement creates a unique bond with audiences that carries over to advertising partners. There are plenty of content sponsorship opportunities available, including:

  • Broadcast & Streaming Sponsorship: Your brand can explore sponsoring weather reports or special weather segments, TXU’s sponsorship of WFAA’s Weatherminds. There are also opportunities to sponsor local events that feature local news and weather personalities, further increasing brand visibility and showing off your commitment to the local community. 
  • Severe Weather Sponsorship: Provide vital information to communities in their hour of need. Your brand will be organically integrated into consumer alerts and headlines to help keep viewers safe during severe weather events. ​ 
  • Digital Sponsorships: Your local news station’s website is also a veritable town square and an extension of the trust earned from decades of its broadcast news authority.​ With TEGNA, your brand can be placed atop every market’s weather homepage, integrated into top weather headlines, or alongside user-generated content featured. This places your brand firmly top-of-mind among tens of millions of viewers.​  

3. Traffic 

Even though commuters spend hours in the car, a Stowell report found that TV and digital platforms are nearly three times more effective than radio for this audience. Much like a weather sponsorship, many opportunities are available to sponsor traffic reports with your local news station. Your brand can be seen on-air and digitally with 30-second commercials, sponsorships, logo placements, and more.  

4. Lifestyle 

There’s more to TV advertising than 30-second commercials, especially if you’re partnering with your local TEGNA station. Lifestyle shows, like Good Morning Texas or Arizona Midday, typically focus on everyday life and bring viewers informative and entertaining content – and its share of fun and light-hearted viral moments.  

Lifestyle marketing integrates a brand into a lifestyle show, labeled as sponsored content. These integrations feature a company figurehead and the show’s host as they go in-depth with its offerings, providing an experience and education rather than the harder sell traditional commercials go for.  

Tips to Effectively Align Advertising with Local News and Viral Moments 

When aligning your brand with the news, being cautious is okay. Not all viral moments are inspiring, fun, and light-hearted. Remember when CNN had to pull a Chilli’s ad after it ran during coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Brands’ concerns are warranted, but there are a few tips we can offer to avoid these types of situations.  

  1. Go Local: TVB found that audiences trust local news over national news outlets, and Chili’s example is one reason why. TEGNA prides itself on our great relationships with our advertising partners – it’s what Be in Good Company is all about. With your brand’s best interest at heart, our marketing experts stay vigilant about local news and emerging viral trends. Open, transparent, and frequent communication is a pillar of our relationships, ensuring something similar won’t happen to your brand.
  2. Plan for Long-Term Community Engagement: Don’t rely solely on short-term trends. Do consider how you can maintain engagement with the local community over the long term to build a lasting connection. Craft your ads and sponsorships to resonate with the local community and the sentiment surrounding the news or viral moment. Authenticity can make your message more relatable.
  3. Relevance and Respect are Keys: Ensure messages align with the local news story or viral moment in a natural and relevant way. Exercise caution and sensitivity with viral moments to avoid coming across as opportunistic, especially if they involve sensitive topics.
  4. Be Prepared for Contingencies: Remember that successful advertising aligning with local news and viral moments requires a deep understanding of your target audience and the local culture. To build a positive brand image, it’s essential to strike the right balance between being relevant and respectful. Ensure you’re flexible and ready to adjust your campaign or messaging if a situation changes or a news story takes an unexpected turn.
  5. Track and Measure: As with any campaign, you’ll want to make sure you’re using analytics to track the effectiveness of your efforts. Measure engagement, reach, and the impact on brand lift to refine your strategy over time. 

Join Team TEGNA  

Brands seek to align with viral moments because it allows them to tap into the existing momentum, gain widespread exposure, engage with audiences on a deeper level, and demonstrate their creativity and authenticity.  

TEGNA’s 64 stations in 51 markets nationwide allow brands to align with the many light-hearted and fun moments that go viral. Let’s get in touch to discover how your brand can align with our local news and lifestyle programming across Broadcast and our growing streaming capabilities. 

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