Hijack Marketing: Building Brand Image Through Relevance

Mindblow Agency
3 min readApr 3, 2024

In today’s busy marketing world, standing out from the crowd can seem almost impossible. Traditional ads often get ignored, partially because consumers are flooded with messages from all sides and it takes something very bold and creative to take their attention. This is where hijack marketing comes into play, using trending topics and conversations strategically.

Hijack marketing, also known as ambush marketing, involves associating your brand with a popular event, trend, or social conversation in a creative and relevant way. It’s about seizing existing attention while adding your brand’s unique voice and viewpoint. Done correctly, hijack marketing can be a powerful tool for building brand image and fostering positive brand associations. And it’s free!

Tips for doing hijack marketing the right way

The key to successful hijack marketing lies in relevance. Here’s how you can implement it for your brand the right way:

Identify the Right Trend

This one is tricky. First of all, sometimes it might seem that a lot of things are happening all at once and it’s hard to identify which one is worth engaging with. Second of all, not all trends are created equal. The best advice is to choose a trend that aligns with your brand identity and target audience. A forced association can backfire, so authenticity is paramount.

Be Timely

The essence of hijack marketing lies in catching the current buzz right on time. Social media allows for instantaneous responses, but you must carefully assess the context and tone to ensure your message resonates effectively. No one says it’s easy; in fact, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of modern marketing.

Offer Value

Here’s an important note — don’t just jump on the trend or a conversation, for the sake of it. If you really want to make an impact and receive positive critique then you should aim to provide a fresh perspective or add value to the existing conversation. This could involve humor, insightful commentary, or a creative twist.

Maintain Brand Integrity

While pushing boundaries can be effective, ensure your hijacked message aligns with your core brand values. Don’t stray too far in an attempt to be trendy, because that can hurt your brand image and not only — if not crafted properly, the message could possibly insult your audience.

Measure and Adapt

Like any other marketing campaign, track the performance of your hijack marketing campaign, especially if you are doing this for the first time. Analyze what resonates and adjust your approach for future endeavors. Sometimes it takes practice and learning a lot from others to come up with a really good creative that’s going to steal the spotlight.

Examples of successful hijack marketing

  • Oreo’s Blackout Tweet: During the 2013 Super Bowl power outage, Oreo seized the perfect moment and in a matter of minutes came up with a simple yet powerful tweet: “You can still dunk in the dark.” This witty response perfectly aligned with their product and the real-time event, generating massive brand buzz, that’s still referred to today.
  • Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” World Cup Campaign: In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez bit an opposing player for the third time. Snickers, known for their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” slogan, quickly jumped on the opportunity with a social media post featuring a picture of a seemingly grumpy Suarez with the caption “Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers.” This humorous take on the incident resonated with audiences and showed the playful side of the Snickers brand.

Hijack marketing, when done thoughtfully, can be a powerful tool for building brand image. By seizing relevant opportunities, providing value, and staying true to your brand, you can create memorable moments that elevate your brand’s visibility and appeal to consumers. If you need assistance in crafting creative campaigns, feel free to drop us an email. We’re here to help bring your ideas to life!



Mindblow Agency

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