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 can’t live without my desktop computer because it can replace most of the other devices (media streaming, music playing, getting directions, staying in contact with friends, gaming...).”—Female, 25, SC

The NBA has teamed up with Budweiser to give fans their first virtual reality experience. At their playoff game last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers gave out cardboard VR headsets that also doubled as beer carriers. Attendees could access experiences like player intros, an inside look at the locker room, and a courtside view of the national anthem. The NBA says they are “always looking for new ways to connect with…fans by leveraging emerging technologies that deliver unique experiences,” and plans to continue to launch more videos throughout the playoffs. The NBA is latest of many brands that have jumped into using VR. (Adweek

A six-year-old fan convention has gotten “too big to ignore.” Described as “the Millennial and postMillennial equivalent” of Comic-Con, VidCon connects fans with their favorite video creators and counts YouTube as a top sponsor. Attendance for the event is poised to grow to 30,000 this year from 21,000 last year, when attendees were mostly teens and females. Not missing the “chance for a direct conversation with a very important, hard-to-reach audience,” the movie industry plans to make an appearance “in a major way for the first time.” Lionsgate plans to bring the star of upcoming thriller Nerve, and Warner Bros. will be doing an “elaborate stunt” to promoteFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. (The New York Times

Second screen behavior is only becoming more prevalent. Internet users are increasingly turning to additional devices while watching TV programming and commercials, leading “simultaneous usage” to grow to 85% this year from 80% in 2015. According to eMarketer, that’s 182.9 million Americans who are browsing the internet while watching TV at least once a month. Device ownership is also on the rise: smartphone ownership is expected to increase by 11% over the next few years, and tablet ownership by 4%. If the trend continues, more than nine out of ten internet users will be multi-tasking with their devices by 2018. (MediaPost

Older generations may have thing or two to teach Millennials about technology. A new study on adults in the U.K. and U.S. found that 18-34-year-olds tend to be more relaxed when it comes to online security, leading to compromised accounts. When asked if they ever used “easily cracked” passwords like birthdays, the word “password,” and “1234,” the majority of 51-69-year-olds said no, while two-thirds of Millennials who said yes. Not surprisingly, 35% of Millennials report one of their accounts was hacked over the past 12 months. (Quartz

We’ve reached peak Boomerang Generation: There are more Millennials living with their parents than significant others, roommates, or on their own, according to Pew Research data. In 2014, for the “first time in modern history,” about one-third of Millennials reported that they were living at their parents’ home. Although the recession limited the generation financially, the Washington Post says the trend has been “decades in the making, a result of deep-rooted societal transformations in education, work and family building.” Instead of marrying, moving out, and starting families, young adults are instead focusing on career paths, gaining more education, and saving up to move out on their own without the support of a significant other. (Washington Post

Quote of the Day: “I want to travel to Washington, because I love the Twilight series and I'd love to see the place it's based on.”

—Female, 23, CA

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