Is hijacking Twitter hashtags a good idea? JELL-O thinks so.

Last month, JELL-O “hijacked” the commonly used Twitter hashtag #FML.

For those of you who are not fluent in Hashtag, #FML means F*** My Life, and often accompanies frustrated (and sometimes funny) Tweets about something that’s gone horribly wrong in a Tweeter’s life.

Recently, JELL-O adopted the #FML hashtag, re-branded it to mean “FUN My Life”, and created a Twitter campaign around it.

As part of the campaign, any Twitter user who uses the #FML hashtag is entered to win a “Fun My Life” prize, specially customized to help them “get their life back on track.” JELL-O has even created a dedicated website that shows all Tweets using #FML, and the company (or rather, their ad agency) is responding directly to many of them. At the time of this post, there were over 250,000 Tweets using #FML. Seems like a great result, but it’s not clear how many of those Tweets are using #FML in its original sense vs. JELL-O’s “revised” meaning.

What do you think? Is taking over an existing, popular Twitter hashtag and re-branding it an effective way to raise brand awareness and create social buzz? Or do you think JELL-O would have been better served by creating an entirely original campaign?