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: “[It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is] my favorite satirical/dark comedy for the past 12 seasons and it hasn't dipped in quality since.”—Male, 21, NY

Nike’s new store puts mobile use at the center of the experience. Using geo-fencing, Nike knows when a customer walks into their 68,000 square foot space and changes the app accordingly. Users can see tailored content and offers, book styling appointments on-site, scan mannequins to have product delivered to their dressing room, and more. Based on the success of similar stores in L.A. and Shanghai, Nike execs hope their new flagship will build up Nike’s Brandom, and drive app downloads in the process. (Ad Age)

Jell-O is rolling out edible slime kits. Their Unicorn and Monster kits cash in on the slime trend, which has been booming in the anxiety economy for at least three years. Elmer’s, Cra-Z-Art, and Nickelodeon were all quick to tap the trend for marketing and products while Jell-O is a little late to the party. But considering that 82% of teens told Ypulse last year that they’ve participated in at least one trending activity to relax, there might still be time to capitalize. (Vox)

BuzzFeed is getting into the retail game, with plans to open family-focused stores across the country, starting in NYC. The brick-and-mortar venture, called Camp, will sell toys and apparel to Millennial parents and their kids, and the first is scheduled to open in time to capture some holiday spending. The concept is copying Story by changing up products and experiences every eight to 12 weeks, because, “we want to deliver adventure every time they come to the store.” (Ad Age)

Pharma companies are using influencers for social media marketing. Wego is a platform that connects patients with social media followings to pharmaceutical companies for marketing activations, like posts about drugs and devices. One company at least has seen success using the approach: Sunovian's earned media impressions surged from fewer than 100,000 to more than 13.2 million after working with Wego. The biggest caveats to that cashflow could be abiding by FDA regulations and contending with “a myriad of ethical issues." (STAT)

Eighty-five percent of Millennials have purchased a product after viewing a branded videoThat’s nearly 10% higher than the adult average for the U.S, U.K., and Australia, according to Brightcove. In addition, 56% ranked videos as more engaging than any other marketing materials and 46% said its their favorite form of brand communication. They're also seeking Shoppable content: 30% said they're interested in videos containing purchase links. (Marketing Charts)

Quote of the Day: “Black-ish is my favorite show on air because it's informative, funny, relatable, and political…I know that I'll be entertained and maybe even learn something new or think critically about certain issues.”—Female, 22, PA

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