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'm trying to save roughly $5,000 to buy a vehicle. It will take me another 6 months or so.” –Male, 16, NC

The year started with a report that teens are leaving Facebook, and it’s ending the same way. A report this week showed that 88% of 13-17-year-olds were using the network in 2014, a drop from 94% in 2013. We’ve looked at the reasons that teens just aren’t as interested in Facebook before, and Ypulse’s latest social media tracker survey actually showed that currently only 63% of 13-17-year-olds say they use Facebook. (Mashable)

Millennial tastes are shaping the future of fast food, and majorly impacting longstanding brands. But what chains are keeping them happy now? YouGov BrandIndex ranked the restaurant chains that 18-33-year-olds would consider going to again to gauge their current brand loyalty. Gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy John’s topped the list, with 83% saying they would return. Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, and Subway made up the rest of the top five, in that order. (Business Insider)

Video sharing competition is heating up. Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has launched Vessel, his new subscription video service, which has been predicted to be a YouTube competitor. To entice creators to post content, they’re being offered $50 for every thousand views in the first three days they are posted, ifthey are only posted on Vessel. After a “72-hour exclusive window” the content can be shared on other sites. Currently Vessel is only open to creators, and a consumer launch “is pending.” (StreamDaily)

Kids are often shielded from adult content, usually because it is deemed too violent. But in reality, their bright cartoons might feature more carnage than grown-up fare. A recent study looked at the biggest children’s and adult movie hits in the same year and found that “two thirds of the 45 highest grossing children’s animated films feature an onscreen death of a major character” compared to half of the top “non-kid” films. “Death and destruction” are just a regular part of your average animated classic. (NYMag)

‘Tis the season for gift swaps, including the sinister favorite White Elephant—also known as Yankee Swap and Nasty Christmas. Old Navy is featuring the game in their holiday Vine campaign. Each day a video reveals gifts, from a high-end trip to a pogo stick, that will be given out, and every person who re-Vines or likes the clips is entered to win. The brand has also tapped 12 popular Viners to create their own clips in which they steal a previously opened gift or stay with the gift of the day. (Old Navy)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold tier subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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