Most people who are in the PR field are familiar with the practice of "newsjacking". It comes from the combination of "hijack" and "news", and is an attempt to ride the coattails of news that relates to your company, product or service.
The "relates" part is important, as the more tenuous the connection, the greater the chance that your efforts will be seen as desperate, opportunistic or off key - and possibly called out as such. This happened just a few days ago when a journalist outed a PR person for mentioning the NSA Prism story in a very unfortunate way.
As such, newsjacking should be done carefully (some might add "if at all"), and can be controversial. See Heidi Cohen's excellent post 20 Experts Discuss Newsjacking.
This is a long way of introducing the fact that the NY Times covered the practice yeterday, in an article about how major brands are trying to insert themselves into the national conversation about the new royal baby: Welcoming a Royal Baby While Trying not to Steal the Spotlight. It said:
Amid the baby frenzy in the news media, advertisers took to Twitter and Facebook to send congratulatory messages to the royal family, with brands including Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Pampers publishing posts...they were examples of how brands are increasingly trying to become part of news-driven cultural moments.
Most of the article focused on advertising and social media, vs. PR, but the idea is the same. One source pointed out the pitfalls:
Tom Morton, the head of strategy at the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners in New York, said choosing to focus more on branding and less on product placement was safe for brands that do not want to appear to be crass. “The truth is there’s very little to say beyond congratulations," Mr. Morton said, adding that brands that try too hard to sell a product during an occasion like the royal birth can risk appearing out of sync with the event