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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “This year for Halloween I’m going to watch cooking theme shows like Halloween Wars.” –Female, 15, TX 

Millennials are clearly disenchanted with politics. When a recent poll asked who they blame the “political gridlock” in Washington on, 56% of 18-29-year-olds said “all of them.” These young consumers are also more likely to volunteer than to vote in the midterm elections. Interestingly, of the small percentage who say they definitely will vote, 51% said they would vote Republican, versus 47% who said they would vote Democrat. (The Atlantic)

It seems that more kids than ever have allergies these days, and for these ingredient-sensitive children, trick-or-treating can be less fun. (Imagine handing over the majority of your candy at the end of the night? No thanks.) This year, The Teal Pumpkin Project is campaigning to raise awareness about these allergies: houses displaying a teal pumpkin signal to trick-or-treaters that nonfood treats are being handed out. Since launching on Facebook earlier this month, the campaign has “reached more than 5.5 million people and been shared 55,000 times,” and over 2,000 pictures on Instagram have been tagged #TealPumpkinProject. (Inc.)

R.L. Stine’s scary Goosebumps and Fear Street series delighted and terrified tons of ‘90s kids, and the author has given these nostalgic consumers a Halloween treat. For the third year in a row, Stine has written an entirely new horror story on Twitter in a series of 15 tweets. The story, “What’s In My Sandwich,” has spread far beyond his 134,000 followers, and is being reposted around the web. (JezebelBuzzfeed)

Marketing on visual social platforms—Snapshot Marketing— has very quickly become an essential way to reach young consumers, and now it’s being put in motion: as of today, Instagram video ads are live. Disney, Activision, Banana Republic, the CW, and Lancome are the first brands to purchase these 15-second auto-display spots on the network. Disney and Activision are both featuring clips from recent entertainment, while Banana Republic has utilized Hyperlapse to create a clip animating fashion sketches. Meanwhile, Snapchat sold its first video ad to Universal this month for the movie Ouija, which went on to win at the box office thanks to teens. (Adweek)

Since launching in 2011, Hello Giggles has not only earned 12 million unique views a month and a very healthy social following, it has also become "an incubator for young talent.” The site emphasizes positivity and girl power, and has built a community of over 600 young female writers, journalists, and creatives who both submit work to the site and support it on Instagram and Twitter. Giggles serves as somewhat as a resume for these women, many of whom have not yet entered the workforce. (Fast Company)

We don’t just deliver data. Along with our bi-weekly survey result data files, we provide our Gold subscribers with a topline report that synthesizes hand-picked, illuminating data points and our insights and expertise. Interesting differences between males and females, older and younger Millennials, ethnicities, and more are highlighted, and relevant statistics are streamlined into an easily consumed, concise, visual takeaway. (Ypulse)

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