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Trendjacking: How to ride the trend wave

New memes, trends, and events are always happening but how a brand chooses to include itself in those conversations can be a difficult choice. Playing the trendjacking game requires strategy and a keen sense of brand awareness.

Trendjacking is a marketing technique that involves using current events, popular occasions, or trending topics to promote a product, service, or brand. It’s a way of leveraging the power of the current moment to increase brand visibility. The idea behind trendjacking is that by being relevant to what people are currently talking about, you’re more likely to capture their attention and create a memorable impression.

A successful trendjacking campaign needs awareness and creativity to succeed. Take Nestea Philippines’ posts for Filipino Olympian Nesthy Petecio. As the boxer made her way towards the podium, the brand jumped at the opportunity to not only show her their support as a Filipino brand and make a pun with their similar names.

When done correctly, trendjacking can help brands increase their visibility, build brand awareness, and attract new customers. However, it takes strategy to make a good trendjacking campaign because you run a risk of coming across as inauthentic if the trend you’re trying to capitalize on doesn’t align with your brand’s values or products.

Consider your relevance

The trend must be relevant to the brand and its products. Brands need to ensure that their content aligns with their brand values and products. Brands need to ensure that their approach to trendjacking is authentic. Consumers can easily detect when a brand is trying to ride on a trend for the sake of it, rather than because it’s relevant to their products or brand values.

Grab rides on—pun intended—the shopping phenomenon of 11.11 with their offered promo codes like “SULIT11”. As a multi-service platform with a huge user base, apps like Grab have a lot of trends at their disposal to connect with their products and services.

Not everything is worth jumping on and making a campaign out of. If you’re a healthcare brand, you might not want to veer away from posting any April Fools Day jokes or pranks. Memes or dance challenges might not suit more traditional, corporate finance brands. Awareness is your compass.

Knowing how well trend jacking might match your brand identity can help set clear objectives and KPIs for your campaign. From here, you can measure the success of the campaign and make any necessary adjustments.

Context matters

Brands need to be sensitive and mindful of the cultural and social context of the trend, target market, and even their company’s location. Posting about the Super Bowl as a Filipino brand operating in the Philippines might not garner as much attention as, say, the finale episode of a popular primetime soap opera. This ensures that customers understand and can relate to the brand messaging.

This is especially needed for context-laded presentations like humor. Local brands like Angkas tap into this easily but global brands need to be able to do this too. Netflix Philippines adopts this strategy by posting in English and Filipino, making use of local lingo, and using memes or format trends to promote films on the platforms.

When considering pop culture trends, brands also need to be aware of any potential controversy or backlash that may result from their involvement in the trend. Pepsi’s 2017 commercial with Kendall Jenner was met with a massive outcry for seemingly trivializing law enforcement presence amid large protests against police brutality.

Time is ticking

Everything moves quicker on social media. Things go viral fast and they go stale even faster. That’s why with trendjacking, time and wit are of the essence.

Brands need to be quick to respond to trending topics, but they also need to ensure that their response is not too soon or too late. Timing is critical to the success of a trendjacking campaign. If you’re banking a post on an upcoming movie, release it on or as close to the premiere date as possible.

Brands need to be creative in their approach to trendjacking. They need to come up with innovative and memorable campaigns that stand out from the crowd. If you’re jumping onto a big event or meme trend, you can be sure that other brands are doing the same thing. It’s important to remember that you’re not only talking to your target audience but hoping to capture new customers.

There are several techniques that brands can employ to capture in-the-moment trends and popular occasions. One of the most effective techniques is monitoring social media platforms to stay on top of what’s currently trending. Brands can also use keywords and hashtags to target specific topics and reach a wider audience. Another useful technique is creating timely and relevant content that’s tailored to the current moment. This could include videos, articles, social media posts, or even live streams that tap into what people are currently talking about. Deciding what to do takes smart strategy and planning.


M2.0 Communications, one of the top PR agencies in the Philippines, provides digital PR and social media marketing services to help you build connections and tell meaningful stories. Learn more about the brands we have worked with on our Clients page.

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Zoe Andin

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