If your brand has ever capitalized on trending topics, you might be guilty of trendjacking. But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It's perfectly acceptable and legal, and using it properly can lead to higher audience engagement and conversion rates. 

Used poorly, it can tarnish your brand’s image. If you find yourself apologizing for offending your audience like AT&T did back in 2013 after posting a photo advertisement on the anniversary of 9/11, you will know you have crossed the line. 

Follow these tips to avoid a public relations disaster and reap the benefits of riding trending topics to further connect with your audience.    

What is trendjacking?

Trendjacking can take the form of a meme, trending topic, hashtag or event. Take the Minions marketing campaign. The successful campaign paired memes and custom GIFs with clips from the movie to capture the attention of their audience. 

Before your marketing team hits the search bar exploring trending topics, consider these top tips. 

Make it relevant 

Connecting with relevant trends is the easiest way to leverage trendjacking. If your brand can make a connection with a trending topic, like Oreo did with their Super Bowl tweet back in 2013, go for it. But if not, make sure your brand relates in some way to the topic. Consider Campbell’s Soup who used their Spaghettios mascot in a tweet to commemorate the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was a stretch they later apologized for. 

Consider the context

Be sure you know the meaning of the context before trendjacking. By researching the trend and having a complete understanding of the trend’s background, your company will avoid any missteps. It’s important to know what others are saying about the trend and discover any negative comments surrounding it. Pizza brand DiGiorno's insensitive tweet which made light of the serious topic of domestic violence, is a perfect example of what to avoid. By jumping on a sensitive topic without understanding the context, they found themselves in crisis management mode. 


With trends coming and going at lightning speed, it’s important to remember to monitor social accounts for stale topics. Trendjacking works best when you can hit the high notes of popularity before the excitement wanes. While some trends may last for days, others hang on for weeks. Just by regularly  scrolling on social platforms, your brand can gauge the life of a story and decide whether to take it or leave it. There are even trend-tracking tools to take advantage of like Google trends

Know Your Audience 

Marketers know how important it is to understand their audience and trendjacking is no exception. Trends are typically marketed to a younger audience, but don’t underestimate older generations. Building customer profiles and knowing which channels will engage with your audience are sure fire ways to meet your audience where they are. 

Explore trendjacking with these tips in mind and don’t be afraid to put your brand’s spin on a hot topic. 

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