30 June 2021

Tags: Editorial

Trendjacking: When Riding the Wave Can Strengthen Your Brand’s Relationship With Consumers



Sometime in mid-2019, a Facebook event was created encouraging people to raid Area 51, a highly classified United States Air Force facility in Nevada. Area 51 has always been a topic of hushed discussions surrounding UFOs, aliens, and conspiracy theories. OREO, renowned for using trending topics to create content, tried to abduct (if you will) the raid Area 51 trend by starting the following discussion:


Another trend emerged from a TikTok video called OK, Boomer – a phrase that millennials and Gen Zers use as a retort against closed-minded ideas coming from the baby boomer generation. Again, several brands like Netflix, GameStop, Natural Light, and others created humorous content around it to garner social media engagement.

Brands have been using the latest trends to create content in the hopes of going viral and expanding their community in the short run. While plenty of brands don’t shy away from taking a stand against a controversial issue, news, or social cause,  many brands also choose to play it safe for the right reasons.

January 2019, the #10YearChallenge went viral on Facebook and subsequently on other social media channels. Right from users to celebrities and public figures participated in it. Even brands marked their presence by sharing how they have evolved since 2009. XL Axiata, an Indonesian telecom provider, shared its technological advancement through Instagram stories.


The concept of riding the wave of the latest trends for content creation is not new. Known as trendjacking, a modern reincarnation of newsjacking, uses breaking news or trends in brand content to generate massive media coverage and go viral.

When done right, trendjacking works because it forms an instant connection with your audience and creates a strong brand recall. Be it FMCG, retail, technology, e-commerce, or almost any type of brand, trendjacking works well as long as you follow the right practices.

Three Essential Considerations for Trendjacking

Before you think of hijacking a trend, make sure to run it past these useful three considerations: 

1. Speed

Brands need to act within the small window of opportunity to reap the benefits of trendjacking. As identified by David Meerman Scott, a newsjacking strategist, the right opportunity to trendjack is to create content during breaking news making its initial rounds and journalists researching to find relevant information on the story.


Image source: Newsjacking

This dramatically increases your brand’s chances of getting the eyeballs of both – news outlets and your community.

2. Relevance

How relevant is the story to your brand, persona, and offerings? It is not necessary to jump on the bandwagon to bank on every new trend if it doesn’t fit your offerings and target audience. In several instances, a brand takes a stance regarding a social issue, but it doesn’t work in its favor because it is not relevant to what it does. Overplaying the trend simply doesn’t work in newsjacking.

3. Authenticity

Humor is a key component of trendjacking. The line between being witty and being controversial is a thin one and needs to be tread carefully. The days of any publicity is good publicity are long gone, and brands must stay authentic to their personality. If a trend doesn’t resonate with your values, tone, and voice, it’s okay to sit out.

Why and How Trendjacking Impacts the Brand-Consumer Connect

Trendjacking, in its most fundamental element, is marketing storytelling. Taking what’s relevant at the moment, building a narrative around it with a hint of the brand personality, and presenting it to the audience.

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to connect with people as they are entertaining, relatable, and memorable, precisely why trendjacking works. Storytelling lets the brand show its human side, which sometimes gets lost in data, promotional messaging, and other things that don’t resonate with customers. Also, stories get us involved emotionally, which further strengthens the brand-consumer connection.

When considered from the perspective of the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) framework, trendjacking appeals to the people in the attention stage of the funnel. So, it essentially turns strangers into acquaintances and acquaintances into fans.

How to Win at Trendjacking – What Can Work and Fail

By keeping in mind the three essential considerations for trendjacking, here is a four-step framework to make the most of new trends in that limited timeframe:

Step 1: Identify Trends

The fame of trends is volatile, so brands need to act swiftly on the right trends. When managing large brands, the content approval process may take time, as it may have to be run through the legal department. Here are three things you can do to identify trends so that you don’t lose the early momentum:

  1. Keep an eye on the trending/What’s Happening and Explore tabs of Twitter. If you are using a social media management tool, set up streams for industry-relevant hashtags. Depending on the market you serve, keep your explore tab region-specific
  2. Set daily Google Alerts for keywords relevant to your brand. This includes brand terms, industry terms, etc.
  3. Use Google Trends to monitor trending terms. Whenever you find a trend spreading rapidly, run the phrase through Google Trends to see the pattern of adoption. You will also find terms relevant to the trend and locations where it is going viral.

Step 2: Research the Trend Thoroughly

This is perhaps the most important task in trendjacking. The last thing you want to do is make the brand appear opportunistic, insensitive, and ignorant. These words sound harsh, but several brands in the past have made the mistake of creating content without putting much effort in research.

For example, when Egypt faced a political upheaval in 2011, Kenneth Cole made an insensitive tweet about the incident while using humor and plugging the brand into the content.


Image source: Mashable

Although the fashion brand later apologised, the internet is an unforgiving place. You may try to mend your ways through apologies and PR statements, but once you post something online, it stays online forever.

Therefore, always research the context and relevance of the topic with the brand.

Step 3: Decide the Angle

Knowing what you are going to say about the topic will keep you away from the path of clickbait. Deciding the tone, angle, and value should guide you when you are actually producing the content piece(s).

Being clear on the value will act as the goal you are trying to achieve.

Step 4: Produce Content Pieces

Using pop-culture elements to create content around trends dramatically improves your content’s relevance and chances of gaining shares. A few examples of pop-culture elements include memes, quizzes, and humor. For example, although one might not have heard Drake’s Hotline Bling, they would definitely know the following meme if they have spent enough time on social media:


Image source: imgflip

Three Good Examples of Trendjacking

Want to know the right way of hijacking trends? These three examples will serve as a great dose of inspiration.

1. Acting Swiftly on the Trend

While we have talked about this earlier, demonstrated it perfectly. For a word to get its place in a dictionary, it needs to be used continuously for a long time, and it has to have a specific meaning that is commonly agreed upon. When OK, boomer started gaining acceptance across all social media channels rapidly, didn’t waste time in including the word in the dictionary.


2. Tie the Trend to Your Product

Domino’s Pizza Malaysia runs a quirky hashtag called #GamingIsPizzaPartyTime, which it uses to share humorous content around games and gaming consoles while highlighting the brand. With Among Us being all the rage at the moment, the multinational pizza restaurant chain ensured to make it a part of its trend.


3. How About a Friendly Twitter Feud?

Every once in a while, brands engage in a friendly exchange where they take digs at each other, share banter, or give backhanded compliments to attract users’ attention. For example, in 2012, Old Spice and Taco Bell had a harmless squabble over the ingredients of their respective products. Since then, many brands have continued with this type of trendjacking.


Three Bad Examples of Trendjacking

Brands should always be careful when it comes to using trendjacking for viral content creation. Inadequate research, insensitive humor, and ignorant messaging combined with trendjacking can do severe damage to the brand’s reputation. Avoid capitalizing on calamities, social issues, civil unrest, controversial political decisions, and someone’s demise. Some curated examples of such bad trendjacking.

1. Epicurious

As the US was mourning the unfortunate incident of the Boston Marathon bombings, Epicurious saw it as an opportunity to promote the brand. It tied-in its recipes with the incident to tweet the following content. Although the brand sent out an apology afterward, it was too little too late.



PETA’s over-the-top style of promoting their cause has always received harsh criticism. For instance, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they tweeted the following content and managed to justify and rationalize their intent to everyone who pointed out the insensitive nature of the tweet.


3. SpaghettiOs

It’s empathetic to show solidarity with unfortunate incidents, but it’s equally important to be careful with the choice of words and imagery while doing so. SpaghettiOs sent a tweet as a remembrance for the Pearl Harbor attack but used a cheerful image of its brand mascot that attracted massive online outrage.


Closing Thoughts

Trendjacking has the potential to go viral within moments, but often, it’s a hit-and-miss opportunity. Trendjacking is surrounded by a gray area, so nothing can promise success or virality. Successful trendjacking helps you reach new audiences, skyrockets social media engagement, and shows your brand in a positive light. But make sure to keep in mind the considerations and framework when creating content. A little restraint is always better than resentment.

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Privacy Policy

Lion & Lion needs to gather and use certain information about individuals.

These can include customers, suppliers, business contacts, employees and other people the organisation has a relationship with or may need to contact.

This policy describes how personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards — and to comply with the laws.

Lion & Lion may change, revise and/or amend this policy from time to time in accordance with the relevant laws. The updated version of such changes will be effective starting from the date that it is published.

This data protection policy ensures Lion & Lion:

• Complies with data protection laws and follows good practice
• Protects the rights of staff, customers and partners
• Is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ data
• Protects itself from the risks of a data breach

Data Protection Law, in general, governs how organisations, including Lion & Lion, must collect, handle and store personal information.

Data Protection Law applies regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

Each of the entities under the Lion & Lion Group adheres to its local data protection law (if any); namely;
• Malaysia – Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA)
• HK – Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486)
• Singapore – Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012)
• Vietnam – Law on Cyber-Information Security (LCIS)
• Taiwan – Personal Data Protection Law (‘PDPL’)

In addition, Lion & Lion Group will also adhere to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) when applicable (ie. when personal data is processed for activities and transactions occur within the European Union).

The General Data Protection Regulations are underpinned by six important principles. These say that personal data must:
• Be processed fairly and lawfully and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
• Be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes;
• Be adequate, relevant and not excessive
• Be accurate and kept up to date
• Not be held for any longer than necessary
• Be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects and in a manner ensuring appropriate security of the personal data


This policy applies to:
• All staff of Lion & Lion
• All authorised agents, contractors, suppliers, third party service providers and other people working on behalf of Lion & Lion where they are required to use personal data collected by Lion & Lion (including but not limited to its external professional advisors and auditors)
• Any related and affiliated companies of Lion & Lion (including Lion & Lion’s intermediate owners and ultimate beneficial owner)

It applies to all data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals. This can include:
• Names of individuals
• Postal addresses
• Email addresses
• Telephone numbers
• Any other information relating to individuals and relevant to customer surveys and/or offers
• IP addresses and cookie strings
• Sensitive data (if any)

This policy helps to protect Lion & Lion from some data security risks, including:
• Breaches of confidentiality. For instance, information being given out inappropriately.
• Failing to offer choice. For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how the company uses data relating to them.
• Reputational damage. For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.
• Lion & Lion will also conduct a Risk Management Plan to assess risk and mitigate harm to the data that is collected and stored. This Risk Management Plan, created by the Project Manager of any project, defines how risks associated with any project will be identified, analyzed and managed and such plan will outline how risk management activities will be performed, recorded and monitored throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Everyone who works for or with Lion & Lion has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.
Each team that handles personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles.

However, these people have key areas of responsibility:
• Lion & Lion’s Board of Directors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that Lion & Lion meets its legal obligations.

• The Data Protection Officer is responsible for:
- Keeping management updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
- Reviewing all data protection procedures and related policies, in line with an agreed schedule.
- Arranging data protection training and advice for the people covered by this policy.
- Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
- Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data Lion & Lion holds about them (also called ‘subject access requests’).
- Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s sensitive data.

• The Head of Operations and appointed IT Manager is responsible for:
- Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
- Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
- Evaluating any third-party services the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.

• The marketing execution teams are responsible for:
- Approving any data protection statements attached to communications such as emails and letters.
- Where necessary, working with other staff to ensure marketing initiatives abide by data protection principles.

Personal data is of no value to Lion & Lion unless the business can make use of it. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft. The following guidelines will govern how Lion & Lion collects and uses personal data:

• Personal data will only be used for the purposes for which they were collected.
• The purposes for which personal data are being collected will be explained to individuals. These purposes may include the following; Contractual Necessity and Compliance with Legal Obligations
• Consent should always be obtained from the individual to use this personal data for a secondary purpose.
• Individuals will be provided with the opportunity to decline to provide personal data and the consequences of refusing to provide personal data will be clearly explained to individuals.
• A visible and easy to use mechanism will always be provided to individuals to withdraw their consent for processing their personal data.
• When working with personal data, employees should ensure the screens of their computers are always locked when left unattended.
• Personal data should not be shared informally. Data must be encrypted before being transferred
• All data stores and laptops that hold or process personal data will be equipped with encryption software.
• Personal data processed within the EU (if any) should never be transferred to a country or territory outside of the European Economic Area unless the country or territory ensures adequate level of security and unless there is a written consent.
• Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central copy of any data.
• Privacy / data protection compliance should always be taken into consideration in the:
- design of new and/or redevelopment of existing systems or business processes.
- specification, procurement and testing of new items of hardware used to support business processes
- specification, design and testing of new items of software used to support business processes.

These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it.

These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:

• When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
• Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
• Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.

When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:
• Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
• If data is stored on removable media (like a CD or DVD), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
• Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to an approved cloud computing services.
• Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
• Data should be backed up frequently. Those backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
• Data should never be saved directly to laptops or other mobile devices like tablets or smartphones.
• All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.

Personal data will only be retained for as long as necessary for the purpose(s) for which they were collected. The following controls in place to ensure that personal data are destroyed of or transferred back to another party in a manner that prevents improper access:

Data deletion or transfer requests should be made by email, addressed to the data controller at The data controller will supply a standard request form and will aim to address the request within 14 days.
The data controller will always verify the identity of anyone making a request before handing over any information.

The applicable laws require Lion & Lion to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date.

The more important it is that the personal data is accurate, the greater the effort Lion & Lion should put into ensuring its accuracy.

It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.
• Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
• Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
• Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a customer can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.
• It is the marketing manager’s responsibility to ensure marketing databases are checked against industry suppression files every six months and to record the status after each check.

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by Lion & Lion are entitled to:
• Ask what information the company holds about them and why.
• Ask how to gain access to it, request for transfer, updates or amendments of data
• Be informed how to keep it up to date.
• Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.
• Raise complaints or report any breach of data protection law
• Request for erasure of data

Subject access requests from individuals should be made by email, addressed to the data controller at The data controller will supply a standard request form and will aim to provide the relevant data within 14 days.

The Data Protection Officer will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.

All requests (including but not limited to data breach notification and complaints) shall be free of charge and will be recorded in the Company’s system.

Detailed information and guidance on data breach, complaints and inquiries procedures, can be found here.

In certain circumstances, Personal Data may be required to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies or authorities without the consent of the data subject.
Under these circumstances, Lion & Lion will disclose the requested data. However, Lion & Lion will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the company’s legal advisers where necessary.

The Data Protection Officer will conduct annual Privacy/ Data Protection Compliance Audits at a designated time between the month of July and August. Staff of Lion & Lion are required take the annual privacy and data protection training with an assessment to acknowledge the policy.

• The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
• Data should not be shared informally. When access to confidential information is required, employees can request it from their line managers.
• Lion & Lion will provide training to all employees to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
• Employees should keep all data secure, by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
• In particular, strong passwords must be used and they should never be shared.
• Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
• Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be deleted and disposed of.
• Employees should request help from their line manager or the data protection officer if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.