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: “My biggest financial priority right now is to pay off my car loan and afford a wedding of about $50,000.“ – Female, 29, NJ

Facebook is getting more emotional. The platform is adding Reactions, a new set of emoji icons that allow users to convey emotions beyond “Like,” including “Sad,” “Angry,” and “Wow.” Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing says the buttons will help brands, “understand on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they're posting." (AdAge)

Parents are currently told that children under two-years-old should have no screen time—a pretty unrealistic tip for modern, mobile Millennial caregivers. But the American Academy of Pediatrics may be updating that advice to keep up with the times. A reported 30% of children in the U.S. first play with mobile devices while they’re still in diapers, and the AAP now says that “in a world where screen time is becoming simply  ‘time,’ our policies must evolve or become obsolete.” (Washington Post)

Amazon is already Millennials’ favorite place to shop online or off, and now the e-commerce giant has launched an Etsy rival. Amazon’s new Handmade platform will bring together creators of artisan, “factory-free” goods, launching with 5,000 sellers. Creators must be vetted by Amazon to ensure products are handmade, and some items will be eligible for Amazon Prime. (The Daily BeastFortune)

With more Millennials delaying marriage, more twentysomethings are not going to weddings—but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the party. Falsa Boda is a company throwing fake weddings for Argentinian Millennials who want to attend a wedding, without the hassle of actually getting married. The parties include all the elements of a wedding ceremony and reception, including a couple that re-enacts marriage vows. (BuzzFeed)

A new category of toys is combining the power of children's imagination with the amplifying magic of technology, to appeal to a generation of kids for whom “real-world activities can seem unexciting." Disney’s new augmented reality coloring book pairs with a tablet to make the characters and kids' drawing come to life in 3D and in real-time, taking their physical play and creating a digital enhancement. (Marketing Magazine)

Quote of the Day: “When I turn 14 soon I can get a job if I want and start saving for my first car with that money and the money I make on eBay.” –Male, 13, FL

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