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Why Won't the Internet Stop Making Fun of Me?

Posted by: Burth Helm on March 16, 2009

I’m talking about “Brandjacking.” It’s when those merry pranksters of the internet turn their attention to your brand. It isn’t a new problem, but for marketers, it’s only getting worse.

Take this parody of the Hyundai Assurance ads:

Meanwhile, AdAge has a story about “Smoking Smarties,” a YouTube phenomenon where kids crush and inhale Smarties to make it look like they’re smoking cigarettes.

So what do you, the brand manager, do? AdAge has some advice, but I’m skeptical. Internet jokes are the marketing equivalent of getting teased in Junior High. Brands face the same quandary that 7th grade nerds do (I know because I used to be one): Do I fight back? Do I laugh it off? Do I ignore it? Then, there’s the most nagging question of all: Why can’t they just think I’m cool? With rare exceptions, you’re doomed from the start. Corporate responses are nearly always as lame as any pubescent teen’s rejoinder.

I don’t have any useful advice. I had to go to a very nerdy college before I was perceived as even remotely cool. Good luck.



News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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