11 Winning Earned Media Examples: How Brands Mastered the Art of Publicity

Earned Media Examples

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, one term that has gained significant prominence is “earned media.” It refers to the free publicity and exposure a brand receives through organic mentions, shares, and endorsements from consumers, influencers, or media outlets. Unlike paid or owned media, earned media is a testament to a brand’s authenticity, credibility, and appeal in the eyes of its audience. In this article, we’ll explore the power of earned media and delve into 11 remarkable examples of how brands have harnessed their potential to drive success.

What is earned media?

Earned media, also known as “free media” or “publicity,” is the exposure a brand earns through word-of-mouth, social sharing, reviews, press coverage, and other organic means, without direct payment for the media space or time.

Why is earned media important?

Earned media holds immense value for brands in today’s digitally connected world. Here’s why it’s crucial for any marketing strategy:

  1. Credibility: Earned media carries the weight of authenticity, as it comes from genuine consumer experiences and endorsements.
  2. Cost-effective: Unlike paid media, which demands a financial investment, earned media can significantly reduce marketing costs.
  3. Extended Reach: Through shares and mentions, earned media can reach a broader audience, often beyond the brand’s immediate target market.

What are some examples of earned media?

Earned media examples are aplenty, showcasing how various brands have leveraged this powerful tool to their advantage. Let’s explore some of the most inspiring instances:

11 Winning Earned Media Examples

1. Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet

During the 2013 Super Bowl, the lights went out unexpectedly, causing a delay in the game. Oreo seized the moment and tweeted a clever ad with the caption “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark,” showcasing their quick wit and relevance. The tweet went viral, earning millions of retweets, likes, and massive media coverage, becoming a textbook example of real-time marketing.

2. Ocean Spray’s TikTok video riff

When a TikTok user showcased a video of himself longboarding while sipping Ocean Spray cranberry juice and vibing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” the internet took notice. Instead of staying silent, Ocean Spray embraced the moment and created a response video featuring their CEO. This earned them immense goodwill, millions of views, and widespread media coverage, highlighting the power of embracing user-generated content.

3. Porch’s original research

Home improvement network Porch gained significant earned media attention by conducting original research on paint colors and their impact on house prices. This data-driven approach positioned Porch as an authority in the industry, leading to extensive media coverage, backlinks, and brand recognition.

4. Home Depot’s Halloween campaign

Home Depot created an engaging DIY Halloween campaign, offering creative and spooky project ideas to homeowners. As people shared their finished projects on social media, Home Depot’s earned media soared, becoming a go-to source for Halloween enthusiasts.

5. Ahrefs’ podcast marketing

Ahrefs, a popular SEO tool, leveraged podcast marketing to expand its reach and connect with its target audience. By guesting on influential podcasts and sharing valuable insights, Ahrefs earned a reputation as an authority in the SEO space, leading to increased brand visibility and credibility.

6. Burger King’s “likes” campaign

In a daring and unconventional move, Burger King encouraged people to unlike their Facebook page. This audacious campaign generated buzz and media attention, proving that sometimes, boldness pays off in the world of earned media.

7. Simulate’s supermodel ad

Plant-based meat brand Simulate created a risqué ad featuring a supermodel sensually eating their product. The bold and somewhat controversial campaign generated heated discussions and extensive earned media coverage, successfully drawing attention to the brand.

8. MSCHF’s The Office Slack campaign

MSCHF, known for its viral and unusual projects, launched “The Office Slack” campaign, allowing fans to reenact iconic scenes from the popular TV show. The interactive campaign caught the attention of media outlets and fans alike, earning widespread coverage and brand recognition.

9. Steak-umm’s Twitter commentary

Steak-umm, a frozen meat brand, garnered unexpected attention on Twitter by posting insightful and philosophical commentary on various topics. This unique approach to marketing resonated with audiences, leading to increased followers and media features.

10. Hint Water’s influencer marketing

Hint Water collaborated with health and fitness influencers to promote their product. These influencers shared their positive experiences with Hint Water, creating a ripple effect of earned media as their followers embraced the product, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty.

11. Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” series

Blendtec’s engaging video series, “Will It Blend?” showcased their blenders destroying various items, from iPhones to golf balls. The entertaining videos went viral, leading to massive earned media coverage and a substantial boost in sales.

How to create winning earned media campaigns

To harness the potential of earned media for your brand, consider these effective strategies:

Identify your target audience: Understanding your audience’s preferences and pain points will help tailor your content to resonate with them, increasing the likelihood of organic sharing and engagement.

Create shareable content: Craft content that is entertaining, informative, or emotionally resonant, prompting your audience to share it with their networks.

Promote your content effectively: Utilize social media, influencers, and public relations to amplify your content’s reach and encourage organic sharing.

Measure your results: Analyze key performance metrics to evaluate the success of your earned media campaigns and identify areas for improvement.


Earned media has emerged as a game-changer in the world of marketing, offering brands a powerful way to connect with their audience authentically. Through the examples of earned media campaigns we explored, we see that creativity, boldness, and authenticity can propel brands to new heights of visibility and recognition. By implementing effective earned media strategies, brands can forge genuine connections, drive engagement, and ultimately, earn the trust and loyalty of their customers. Embrace the power of earned media, and watch your brand soar to new horizons.


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