Week 7: All about “trendjacking” and why it may not be for everyone

What is Trend-Jacking? - Simplifying retail
Image courtesy: Retail Ritesh

In this digital age filled with tech-savvy Millennials and Gen-Zs, internet trends come just as quick as they go. In order for brands to stay relevant and connect with the digital crowd, many brands from all sorts of industries are always attempting to hop onto the “trendjacking” train. As Pixlee defines it, “trendjacking is the practice of jumping in on trending topics, hashtags, events, or memes.”

“Trendjacking” provides brands an easy platform to leverage in terms of content creation to connect with their audience, improve brand image, and drive visibility by hopping onto an existing on-going conversation. However, brands should take steps to fully capitalise the opportunity in “trendjacking” by having a call-to-action or attaching a link to lead the audience to landing pages. This will bring traffic to the relevant sites or pages, which in turn drives conversion and sales leads for the brand.

As illustrated by Equinet Academy, “Trendjacking” is able to generate sales and conversion as it “drives short-term and “spikey” traffic to your digital campaign and social media channels. This traffic helps to generate upper-funnel awareness which drives the propensity to collate leads, thereby increasing sales conversion and the acquisition of new customers.”

Let us review an example of how a brand hopped on the “trendjacking” bandwagon and has successfully engaged with their audience.

When Facebook sparked the #10YearsChallenge trend in 2019 to encourage users to post a photo of themselves from 10 years ago versus now; it caused participation from millions of users and numerous brands to hop on this trend.

10yearchallenge hashtag google trend statistic
Source: Google Trends

Lego took their chance to showcase their spin on this challenge – using a playful illustration to showcase their brand and product consistency over the years. With the caption “Creativity doesn’t age”, it shows the versatility of Lego products and how the brand has managed to withstand the test of time; making it a classic toy brand that is also suitable for all ages.

Lego 10yearchallenge instagram post

However, brands and marketers should be well aware that “trendjacking” is not a one-size-fits-all. According to e-Marketer, there are three key factors to take note of:

1. Audience – As memes and Internet trends are not for every age group, it is important to see if the current trend or meme resonates with your target audience. If your brand’s target audience are of the older generation, “trendjacking” might not be as effective towards them.

2. Authenticity – As e-Marketer puts it, “memes may not be right for every brand identity, even if the target audience is in the right age group.” Brands should stay true to their identity and not hop onto every trend just because it is the talk-of-the-town or else it may be off-putting for the audience.

3. Appropriateness – Most importantly, brands should not blindly talk about trending topics especially if it is sensitive or controversial such as death, race, political issues, etc. as this may result in severe backlash from the public and will put the brand in a negative light.

I hope you have learnt more about “trendjacking” and also realise that it may not be for everyone. Even so, would you as a marketer make use of “trendjacking” as part of your marketing plans? I would love to hear from you!

12 thoughts on “Week 7: All about “trendjacking” and why it may not be for everyone

  1. Hello! Great read! Clear flow and very easy to understand, I enjoyed reading it 🙂 To answer your question, I would most definitely utilise trendjacking in my marketing plans as it is a great way to engage the audience and gain brand exposure for smaller brands. Such relatable content are bound to leave an impression and if done right, it might even strengthen brand loyalty for consumers.

    You mentioned that there were 3 key factors that marketers should note when attempting trendjacking, can you name an example of a campaign that failed to consider the aforementioned factors and how they fared after? Would love to know your answer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Maisarah! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!
      Really appreciate your input on my blog as well, it’s always nice to hear a different perspective and a fresh input!

      To answer your question, I did came across a brand called Kenneth Cole that totally missed the mark when it came to Appropriateness. You may find the article describing the incident here: https://mashable.com/archive/kenneth-cole-egypt#LFEyvt.gNmqG
      What Kenneth Cole did was they tried to ride on the news of the protests that were ongoing in Cairo, Egypt to promote their spring collection but what they failed to realise is that this is a serious and sensitive topic and by using it as a platform to promote their brand and spring collection, it makes the brand look ignorant and as if they were making fun of the protests.
      They received very heavy backlash from the public and it is safe to say that sensitive topics like this should be steered clear away from when it comes to “trendjacking”.

      Hope this adds on to your understanding and thank you for letting me elaborate more! Do look forward to upcoming posts and have a nice day ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Yu Ping!

    Very detailed blog post on “trendjacking” and relevant examples to relate to! I agree with you that not everyone or all companies should exercise “trendjacking” as it may not be relevant for all. For myself, if I’m a marketer and the target audience of the product/service that my company is selling is targeted at elderly, I don’t think I will exercise “trendjacking” on the trend of a mobile application called tik tok. This is because tik tok is mainly for millennials or gen Z in general. How about you? What do you think all the companies should join in the tik tok trend and promote themselves on tik tok?

    Looking forward to your future blogs! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cara! Thank you so much for stopping by and for appreciating my content! It’s very comforting to see that you have benefitted and for agreeing with my blog post.

      I totally agree that TikTok would definitely not be the right platform for “trendjacking” if the target audience is the elderly as they are not advent users of TikTok. Glad to see you applying the Authenticity and Audience factors that I have mentioned in the post to aid in your application and understanding 🙂

      In regards to your question, TikTok is indeed a rising trend now especially among Millennials and Gen Z whom are usually more tech-savvy and frequent Internet/Social Media users. However, I would circle back to the 3 key factors that I have mentioned and I feel that if the company’s target market consists of Millennials and Gen Z, then it would be a great platform to “trendjack” and connect with their audience – which relates to Authenticity and Audience. In fact, many brands across all sorts of industries with that target market have already hopped on board TikTok as a way to engage the audience and promote their brand. However, brands should not be too carried away with trends on TikTok and should always be mindful of what they post, staying clear from sensitive topics like race, religion, etc. This would be linked to the Appropriateness factor that I have highlighted in my blog.

      Hope this adds on to your understanding and thank you for letting me elaborate more! Do look forward to upcoming posts and have a nice day ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi YuPing, interesting read! I would totally make use of ‘trendjacking’ if I was a marketer and the situation allows. Given that your company targets audience of the younger generation and has decided to hop onto Tiktok to do your advertising, how would you go about choosing which trend to follow to be more engaging? I may be wrong but I feel like some trends do not really go well with a company’s image. What are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Wan Rong! Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the blog post! Glad to see that you had some takeaways from the content and that “trendjacking” is a useful application for you 🙂

      With the content on TikTok being so diverse, it is common for trends to come fast and fade as quick. Hence, the essence for marketing on TikTok is to quickly ride on the trend while it is still fresh and relevant. As TikTok is about short video content, it is important to capture the audience’s attention quick and the trends are a good way to build on that engagement.

      However, I agree with you that not all trends would go well with a company’s image. Hence, it is important to identify the proper trends to match the brand identity and plan the content accordingly to that trend. A lot of trends on TikTok are dance-based trends, and that alone would not fit most of the companies out there for their marketing. Therefore, brands should always look back to the 3 factors of Authenticity, Audience and Appropriateness before blindly hopping onto “trendjacking”!

      Hope this adds on to your understanding and thank you for letting me elaborate more! Do look forward to upcoming posts and have a nice day ahead 🙂


  4. Hello Yu Ping! What an insightful post, it was a very informative read on “trendjacking”. I do agree that trendjacking is an important marketing practice as it helps to create viral messaging and boost brand awareness by leveraging current events. In fact, with the growth of news content on devices from phone to tablets, it makes trendjacking necessary. However, like all marketing approaches, trendjacking has it owns risks, with the potential to backfire and alienate your audience. With the good comes the bad. Therefore, what should brands do if they face a backlash and is the center of negative social media focus? How can we learn from it?

    Hope to hear about your thoughts soon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clara! Thank you for stopping by and enjoying the blog post! Glad to see that you had some takeaways from the content and that you agree with some points as well!

      I do agree with you that “trendjacking” is susceptible to a high potential of backfiring since it is specifically carried online where the general public are able to voice their opinions easily. Furthermore, if brands are not careful with the trends and jump in blindly without considering sensitive topics like race and religion for example, the campaign is sure to backfire.
      In the unfortunate case of such, policies should be in place to remedy the problem immediately. Brands should minimally address the situation head-on and sincerely apologise for the slip-up. They should also immediately take down the content to prevent further backlash and circulation on the Internet.
      While it could be tough to recover from the backlash immediately, brands should be extra cautious with their content in future and strive to be more sensitive in order to regain trust and reputation from the public. Brands should then come up with clear content guidelines and make sure to follow the 3 key points that I have mentioned in the blog post to ensure that such incidents will not happen again.

      All in all, if brands are cautious and sincere with their content and message, “trendjacking” is still a suitable trend for most companies out there to hop on and can guarantee a significant amount of success.
      Hope this answers your question and thank you for letting me add onto my content! It was certainty refreshing to bring up the cons of “trendjacking”. Do look forward to upcoming posts and have a nice day ahead 🙂


  5. Hi Yu Ping, thank you for this post, very thorough blog post on “trendjacking” with relatable examples! I think that trendjacking is a key marketing strategy for creating viral messages and increasing brand exposure by utilizing current events. Just one more question from me. What are your thoughts on all businesses joining the tik tok trend and promoting themselves on tik tok?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Juen Wei! Thanks for dropping by once again and I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Yes indeed, “trendjacking” is a vital marketing strategy for brands and marketers to use in this current digital age.

      In regards to your question, I do think that Tik Tok is a very trending and powerful digital platform for brands to hop on to boost their digital presence. As Tik Tok is currently very popular especially among the Millennials and Gen Z consumers, it would be best for brands that have these two target groups to utilise Tik Tok in their marketing strategy. As Tik Tok’s content are based off on short video content, it gives rise to many diverse trends and content on the platform, which is the perfect formula for trendjacking.
      Therefore, I do think that it is very timely and effective for businesses to join the Tik Tok scene as it is such a widely used social media platform is this current age.

      However, brands should also be mindful of the 3 key points as mentioned in the blog before they blindly hop onto the Tik Tok trend. It is important for brands to access the Audience as Tik Tok is not a popular platform for some age groups such as Baby Boomers for example. In regards to Authenticity, alot of trends on TikTok are dance-based trends, and that alone would not fit most of the companies out there for their marketing. Hence, it is important to identify the proper trends to match the brand identity and plan the content accordingly to that trend. Brands should also be mindful to apply Appropriateness into their content, to make sure that the content on Tik Tok is not of offensive or insensitive content.

      I really appreciated the question and I hope this answers your question! Thank you and have a nice day ahead 🙂


  6. Hey Yu Ping, great post on viral marketing! It was really informative and I liked the examples as well. Definitely did not know the term for hoping onto trends was called ‘trendjacking’. I’ve learnt a lot!

    I would most likely use trendjacking as it provides great opportunities for brands to leverage current events to increase their brand awareness and reach. Another example I can think of right now who did this successfully is Ryan Reynolds who hopped on the ‘bottle cap challenge’ to promote his Aviation Gin.

    Besides just trendjacking, are there any other ways brands can adopt in their strategies to seize opportunities and go viral?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Wei Lun! Really glad to hear that the blog was insightful for you, thank you for stopping by!

      That is a very solid application that you have provided and I do agree that it is an effective way to increase brand visibility as trends would be something that is widely receptive and spread around quickly among the general public; making it a great way to boost awareness and reach in a low-cost and quick period of time.
      Thank you for providing an example to supplement as well! Indeed, the ‘bottle cap challenge’ was a huge viral trend back then and with “trendjacking”, Ryan Reynolds has successfully incorporated the trend into his branding and product due to the compatibility of content and target audience; putting in place Authenticity and Audience. With this, he was able to ride onto “trendjacking” and gain high visibility and traffic to his company – great point that you have brought up!

      To answer your question, there are other ways in regards to Viral Marketing that brands can apply and one of it would be to use STEPPS which is a six-factor framework by Jonah Berger. STEPPS stands for Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Stories; which lets us understand the basis of virality. Therefore, for brands and marketers looking to incorporate Viral Marketing into their marketing campaigns and strategies, they can look at STEPPS and evaluate which factor would be most applicable for their overall brand image, audience, content, and campaign purpose. While not all of the factors are required to be used, it is important for brands to properly sift out those that are more suitable for their own brand and campaign as STEPPS is not a one-size-fits-all and it is important to still stay true to the overall brand identity. Overall, STEPPS is still a very useful tool for brands and marketers to adopt into their strategies if Viral Marketing is something that they would like to utilise. If viral, it can produce a huge amount of visibility and conversions for the brand in a very quick period of time.

      I really appreciated this question which enabled me to express my opinions and elaborate further about Viral Marketing and I hope this answered your queries well! Thank you and have a great week ahead 🙂


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