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: “I can’t live without my smartphone. It's my navigation system, entertainment, knowledge device, and many other things.” –Female, 25, IL

Blue and black, or white and gold? Never has such a simple question gone so viral. If you haven’t yet heard of #TheDress, a picture of the controversial frock was posted on Tumblr yesterday afternoon by a user who wanted others to weigh in on what colors it is. Since then, it has caused the internet to go up in flames, and millions have passionately banded behind one of two sides, some see blue and black while some see white and gold. In less than 12 hours, the BuzzFeed article asking “What Colors Are This Dress?” received 25 million views. As we’ve said before, young social media users are culture creators, their collective social power can make the mundane into a trend—they’re certainly doing that and more with The Dress. (New York TimesWired)

The Millennial nostalgia series reboots don’t stop coming: Netflix is now bringing back Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. The site will be streaming five new kids’ shows in an effort to reach more young viewers, and the inclusion of these already-loved characters could potentially please their parents as well. Inspector Gadget, which originally aired from 1983 to 1986 and got a movie in 1999, will have 26 new computer animated episodes premiering exclusively on Netflix in March. Netflix has already announced reboots of Magic School BusCare Bears, and Popples, and hopes that the nostalgic content will lead to “co-viewing” and garner them fans from multiple generations. (Stream DailyUSA Today)

Shake Shack is amassing Millennial fans. The beloved New York-based fast casual burger establishment already epitomizes much of what young consumers are looking for in dining—fast casual, a modern look, friendly staff, and natural ingredients—and it’s gaining even more of a following thanks to a very strong social media game. Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world. (Digiday)

Telltale Games, the studio that created the popular The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones video games, has its own series in the making. Telltale is known for their TV-like “episodic” game design, and their first foray into original content will reportedly be a “super show,” described as a video game, TV show hybrid. Each episode will include a scripted portion as well as an interactive piece that is integrated with the show’s narrative. Telltale’s CEO calls the project "a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we've pioneered." This unique style of entertainment could be on the rise, and film company Lionsgate has made “a significant investment” in the studio. (The Verge)

Target’s had somewhat of a tough 2015 so far, between backlash for body shaming and closing its Canadian stores, and they’re making some proactive moves to increase their appeal to young consumers. The chain will be upping spending on digital marketing efforts, and is “getting ready to reinvent its food offerings.” Food, health, and social responsibility remain important to younger consumers, so emphasizing efforts to expand their natural and organic products is likely a smart move. Target is also adding more brands that appeal to Millennials to their Made to Matter collection, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, KIND, and Ben & Jerry’s. (MediaPost)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. You search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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