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: “I haven’t had children yet because I prefer to breed with an intelligent female, but none of them are single.” –Male, 30, KY

Instagram is reporting that their first native advertising tests have been a success. According to the network, Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-44-year-olds in the U.S. with their campaign, and saw a significant lift in ad recall. Chobani reached 4 million 18-54-year-olds, and was able to shift perceptions away from the idea that their product was only for breakfast. Chobani’s tips for Instagram success include avoiding professional looking shots, and not overbranding. These results echo our prediction that Snapshot Marketing is an essential next step for brands, and that content should fit in with what is already being created by consumers. (Mashable)

Instagram is reporting that their first native advertising tests have been a success. According to the network, Taco Bell reached 12.5 million 18-44-year-olds in the U.S. with their campaign, and saw a significant lift in ad recall. Chobani reached 4 million 18-54-year-olds, and was able to shift perceptions away from the idea that their product was only for breakfast. Chobani’s tips for Instagram success include avoiding professional looking shots, and not overbranding. These results echo our prediction that Snapshot Marketing is an essential next step for brands, and that content should fit in with what is already being created by consumers. (Mashable)

Today’s teens and tweens might be finding much of their entertainment online and in short doses, but in other ways they are being given an entertainment experience that sometimes feels photocopied from older Millennials’ childhoods. Case in point: Sony is producing a reboot of the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise, continuing the trend of ‘90s films and TV being revisited for a new wave of young viewers. (Jezebel)

Millennials drew the short stick when it comes to economic security, but they may be getting their financial bearings. In 2013, the income of young Americans' households actually rose 10.5% from the year before. In previous years, households headed by 15-24-year-olds generally dropped more than other age groups. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the recession's impact on the generation is overcome, it is a hopeful sign that not as much damage was done as was feared. (WSJ)

We’re in the midst of a fashion speed tug of war, with some brands leaning into fast fashion and others extolling a less is more attitude. But those brands who feel they need to keep up with the Forever 21s of the world should take note: Patagonia’s “anti-fast fashion” message is paying off. The clothing company has been encouraging customers to buy less, famously running ads that say “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” and their profits have tripled since 2008. (Business Insider)

Teen drug use, binge drinking, and smoking are all on the decline, according to a new federal report. The study found that substance dependence or abuse problems among 12-17-year-olds dropped from 8.9% to 5.2% from 2002 and 2013, and rates of drug abuse went from close to 12% to under 9%. However, the reasons behind these drops is somewhat of a mystery, as the percentage of teens who have seen prevention messages during the same time period has actually declined. (CBSNewsweek)

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