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Why HDB's Bridgerton trendjack is the diamond of the season

Why HDB's Bridgerton trendjack is the diamond of the season

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Dearest gentle reader, with the upcoming June Built-To-Order (BTO) sales launch upon us, it is with great pleasure that MARKETING-INTERACTIVE informs you that Singapore's Housing Development Board (HDB) has trendjacked Netflix's historical romance series, Bridgerton to commemorate the launch of its highly anticipated third season on the streaming platform. 

In a social media post, HDB (or rather, Lady HDB Town), posted a letter Lady Whistledown-style announcing that the June BTO launch would be happening soon and that it would be offering about 6,800 flats in Jurong East, Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun. 

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"From quaint towns to bustling estates, a variety of abodes across six towns awaits you to choose your rightful homes," wrote Lady HDB Town (or HDB) in the post. 

The post was well received on social media with many users commenting that the social media manager deserves a raise, that it is "delightfully cute" and that it was a funny and witty post. 

Trendjacking though is an art and can either be done really well like this HDB post, or really bad such as when the US Embassy Singapore tried to trendjack a popular trend on Instagram that didn't land too well with its followers. 

In the reel, the US Embassy Singapore talked about how it has the world's best universities, how they play the "more exciting" version of football and how they mispronounce words such as "Tampines".

Checks by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw that netizens were quite unhappy with the reel. Many took the opportunity to criticise America for policies and decisions it has made regarding the ongoing Israel and Gaza war while others attacked specific things mentioned in the video. One netizen said, "But this is Singapore, not your country." The commenter added that they should learn to say the names of places properly. 

How to do trendjacking right

So how can brands do it right? For a start, a brand needs to understand that there are multiple trends happening simultaneously and that it needs to pick and choose carefully, act fast, and move on to the next quickly.

"This way they avoid being seen as sporadic or piecemeal," said Amy Gan, vice president, marketing at Etika Group in an earlier interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. She added that to achieve this, social media efforts must be strategically organised.

A social calendar for example will help but it needs to combine both pre-arranged and pre-decided content that carries the brand’s core message.

"But, the calendar also needs to be flexible to allow for trendjacking to fit in," explained Gan. 

To hijack a trend successfully, a brand needs to be quick. "Online memes and trends last about one to two weeks at most, sometimes, that's even shorter. It's like fadjacking instead of trendjacking actually," said Gan. 

Hence, brands, need to spot them quickly and jump on board within two to three days at the most. 

Brands must not just catch trends but must anticipate them and even create them.

Brands also need to make sure that in jumping on a trend, they stay true to their own tone of voice and that they are not diluting their brand in anyway.

Trendjacking pitfalls to avoid

According to Gan, some pitfalls when it comes to trendjacking include being culturally insensitive or alienating some races or social groups. 

Another mistake is when brands are too late. "Once a trend has peaked, a brand shouldn’t try. The brand risks being seen as a late adopter, and in that case, trendjacking can hurt the brand instead of enhancing its appeal," explained Gan. 

Coincidently, brands also can fall into trouble if they focus too much on trends. Brands need to have their own voice and characteristics. That is paramount and must be strongly communicated, said Gan, adding:

Trendjacking should be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

Adding to her point, Shufen Goh, co-founder and principal at R3 noted in an earlier interview that while trend-jacking is undeniably a viable tactic for brands to increase awareness and participate in cultural conversation, not every trend is worth participating in.

"Impactful marketing aligns and reflects brand values. Without that, any marketing activity risks being seen as opportunistic and ingenuine," she said. "Sometimes the best things marketers can do is watch and learn. What does this say about consumers? What are the emotions and concerns motivating the trend?"

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