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 want to buy a home in the future so I can live in a place I earned for myself.” –Male, 25, PA

Millennials know how to score a deal online. New research has found that 18-34-year-olds are more than willing to bend the truth and use some hacks to get discounts and “game e-commerce”: 26% have intentionally given a fake birth date to get a coupon, versus 17% of all adults, and 47% will leave items in their online shopping bags on purpose in hopes the retailer will contact them with a discount later. (Adweek)

The creator of Vine has a new app that’s all about creativity and getting weird. Byte is inspired by vintage internet tools like Dreamweaver and Mario Paint, and gives users a slew of ”wild” features like drawing, music creation, and photo-editing that includes memes and GIFs. Where Vine limits users to 6-second loops to display artistry, Byte “destroy[s] the notion of constraints and see what emerges from the chaos.” (The Verge)

We often tell brands that young consumers are so massively influential because they are eager to share their opinions: if they like you, they’ll tell 200 of their friends, if they don’t like you, they’ll tell 2000, all with a simple click. Right now, they’re telling Urban Outfitters what they think of their pricing and products with the trending hashtag #UrbanOutfittersBeLike. Critics are using the tag to share images of simple everyday items like plastic bags and pencils along with fancy descriptions and ridiculous high price tags. (Digiday)

Young working moms today are “getting more love than ever,” and are more supported than those in previous generations. Recent research found that only 22% of 12th graders believe that kids suffer if their mom works, compared to 34% in the ‘90s, and 59% in the ‘70s. In 2012, 72% of adults agreed that “a working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work,” versus less than half of adults in 1977. (Time)

Major toy makers have banded together to promote the power of playing. The new marketing campaign “The Genius of Play” is an effort from brands and retailers like Mattel, Hasbro, and Toys ‘R’ Us to encourage “open ended” playtime. Ten animated videos show parents and kids how toys and games can help emotional development, creativity, and other healthy skills. Parents are being asked to sign a “Play Pledge” to devote hours of their kids’ time to free-play. (StreamDaily

Our Q2 2015 Ypulse Quarterly report comes out today! Four times a year, we dig deep into three major trends we see changing the way that young consumers view the world, impacting how they behave, and shifting what they expect from brands. This report covers the trends Fame Redefined, Fit Gone Glam, and Home Sweet Home. Here’s a sneak peak of what’s inside! (Ypulse)

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