Things You Should Know: Brandjacking

 

Welcome to Things You Should Know, our new ongoing series on Millennial-fueled trends, slang, and memes that will keep you up-to-date on everything happening in youth culture. 

Last week, media organizations began to report that online vigilante group Anonymous had hacked Westboro Baptist Church’s Facebook page after the church announced they would be picketing the funerals of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. But the truth soon came to light: Westboro had never had ownership over the page at all; Anonymous had started the fake page themselves months before. Westboro had been brandjacked.

The term brandjacking has been in use since around 2007, when it was used in an article in Businessweek describing the new problems that corporations were facing protecting their reputations online from “cybersquatters,” individuals using unauthorized trademarked name or phrase in a domain name. These days the practice of brandjacking has become much more complicated. Brands’ reputations online are as vulnerable as consumers’—perhaps more so because they are bigger more alluring targets with more public failings. And because brands don't have emotions or feelings, to Millennials don't see it as bullying. For this generation, trusting what they read online is already a dubious process, and with brandjacking becoming more common, the veracity of every brand message, profile, and campaign is up for questioning. In an era of catfishing and profile hacking, brands are not above having their identities stolen, and brandjacking is taking on many forms.

The Social Media Brandjack: Perhaps the most common form of brandjacking is a fake social media profile for a brand being set up in order to mess with that brand’s reputation. In the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, a Twitter feed under the handle…

 
 
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Quote of the Day: “My dream for the future is to become an entrepreneur so I can become my own boss. I also want to become successful to help other people who are in need.” – Female, 23, CA

Seven years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter is the best-selling book series in history; but it also shaped a generation of children who read it. Millennials—known for their technology reliance—fell in love with these books “about love conquering hate,” waited for their release, grew up with the characters, and found within the books a unifying culture that has lasted far beyond the publishing of the last book. As we’ve said previously, the optimistic story about a unique, special boy destined for great things resonated with Millennials in a time when they too believed they were special and had great expectations for their futures. (BoingBoing)

Millennials are not rushing to tee off, and golf is “suffering from a generation gap.” Over the last five years, participation in the sport has fallen steadily, and the participation rates of 18-34-year-olds dropped 13% from 2009 to 2013, while their rates in other sports has risen significantly. The slow rate of games, the expense, and likely the pretense surrounding golf, could all be contributing to the gap. (WSJ)

An anonymous, adult, toy reviewer is one of YouTube’s biggest stars. DisneyCollectorBR posts videos of toy “unboxings,” watched by millions. Her most watched video is an unwrapping of “egg surprise” trinkets to show what is inside—it has over 90 million views. Apparently, the simple videos of a toy being opened and played with by adult hands are “entrancing” kids, who watch one after another. There is close to no information about the person behind the account online. (BuzzFeed)

Millennial parents continue to be given tools that facilitate their kids’ hyper-monitered childhoods. MamaBear is an “all-in-one worry-free” parenting/monitoring app that recently raised $1.4 million. Through the app, parents can be alerted to where children are, what they’re saying on social media, what photos they’re being tagged in, and even monitors when teen users are speeding. (TechCrunch)

The obesity epidemic has been blamed on many things, from fast food to technology replacing outside play. But one result of the health problem could also be making it tough to conquer: a lot of children who are obese or overweight don’t know it. A recent study found that 76% of kids ages 8-15 who are designated by the CDC as overweight thought they were “about right.” Boys and children from poorer families were more likely to “misperceive” their weight. (NPR)

Quote of the Day: “I unplugged from Facebook and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is such a time suck. I have other online sites that I can browse to relieve stress or take a break from work without having to see what some random kid in high school is eating for breakfast.” —Female, 23, PA

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