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 was completely invested in Breaking Bad, it took a simple everyday man and slowly dehumanized him through choices that an individual in real life could have possibly made or gone through.”—Male, 22, NJ

The creators of livestreaming pioneer Meerkat made a new app in secret—and it’s doing great. Houseparty is a group video chat platform designed to “capture some of the spirit of Meerkat but in a more personal way that encourages users to participate.” Users can create or join “rooms” to video chat with friends, and are warned if an unknown mutual friend joins the group. The app opens to a camera like Snapchat, is “sprinkled liberally” with emojis, and has already generated almost 1 million mostly teenage users during its testing phase. (Mashable)

Neiman Marcus is in full support of the "see now, buy now" retail strategy some brands have been adopting to keep up with impatient young consumers. The retailer has seen sales decline for fourth straight quarters, and is citing an “out-of-sync fashion cycle” as a crucial part of their troubles. Now that just launched collections are "blogged and broadcasted all over the world via social media," and fast fashion retailers are “delivering trends before ‘authentic runway looks are delivered to stores,’” the retailer is encouraging their vendors to deliver products quickly after release to keep up. (Fashionista

Club Med knows not all Millennials are “frugal single travelers.” The travel brand, “where all the cool kids went in the 70s and 80s,” is now setting their sights on affluent Millennial parents who travel. Spending $1.5 billion in facilities upgrades, Club Med now offers “zen oases,” where “parents to briefly recuperate away from their kids” and escape the pressures of work and home. They also are focusing on the experiential aspect of their brand, adjusting their website to allow visitors to experience their trips digitally before their buy. (Skift)

Kano, one of the first and most unique toys to teach kids coding, is heading back to the Kickstarter to promote three new programmable do-it-yourself kits. Their new products focus on a toy coming “to life when it responds to its environment," and includes a Pixel display that can be taught to display different colors and shapes in response to sounds. The brand’s target market is 8-14-year-olds, but they aim to make it “simple for anyone in the world to make, hack, create, manipulate, and warp technology as it is to use it today." (Fast Company)

Marketing to the post-Millennial generation is all about getting creative, and serving ads through sponsored content is resonating strongly with teens who fully understand it’s a marketing strategy. When AwesomenessTV looked into their popular series Royal Crush—which takes place on a cruise ship and is sponsored by Royal Caribbean—they found that is was 30% more efficient than TV. But one form of traditional advertising is still effective: sampling. To promote their moon sneakers and hot sauce, GE toured colleges to target engineering students. (Adweek

Quote of the Day:  “Young and Hungry are short 30 minute shows, so I can watch it on my lunch breaks at work. I like the humor and the characters. The story line is easy to follow. It's an easy show to binge watch.”—Female, 20, WS

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