Thanks to massive media conventions like SXSW, “brand activation” is one of the hottest trends in consumer marketing today. But when you source a definition of this newest buzzword, it comes suspiciously close to reading like text-book definitions of good ol’ fashion “marketing.” Plug the term into Google and you’ll stumble upon this common definition: “brand activation is the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction and experiences…to get consumers to act…it’s about bringing brands to life.” There’s nothing wrong with that definition, but it doesn’t enlighten us on how activation marketing can be used to shift public opinion when you’re facing a public affairs challenge. Typically, marketing deals with messages that challenge your a brand (a competitor arguing that their product is better than yours). By contrast, public affairs deals with messages that attack (a protest group saying your product kills). In this context, having an ability to mobilize supporters can make the difference between a winning and losing campaign.