The short answer is yes, this is a known technique. Let's figure out what's going on.
Firstly, you might know about scales and keys. The most common scale is the major scale. It's made up of a series of steps, some a whole tone wide, and some a semitone wide. It goes tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone. In C major:
These notes are called diatonic to the key of C Major, because they form the scale of C Major.
From those notes, we make chords. We get one chord per note of the scale. They C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim. We often use Roman Numerals to talk about these chords, because it means we're not stuck in C Major. Uppercase means a major chord, and lowercase means a minor chord. We'd call them I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii°. The ° symbol means "diminished". That's not a very common chord, so don't worry about it for now.
I assume you know the difference between major and minor chords. A quick example:
C Major = C
four semitones E
three semitones G
C Minor = C
three semitones Eb
four semitones G
Where does that leave us? Well, we now have a set of chords for a key. We often add a few other chords (called non-diatonic chords). Some people like to come up with theoretical explanations for each one, whilst others just say they are in the key, and we don't need an elaborate explanation to use them. I'd lean towards the second opinion, but it doesn't really matter.
Which means we finally get to your chord. It's built in the third degree of the scale (four semitones above the first degree, or tonic). Normally that chord would be a minor chord. But, in your examples, it's not. The third chord is a major chord (sometimes called III, rather than iii). It's quite a striking sound, isn't it?
There are more comprehensive theoretical explanations (calling it a secondary dominant, for example). For now, I'd concentrate on learning what chords normally appear in a given key, and how you can use them. The major chord built from the third degree of the scale is one of your options. Another example would be building a major chord from the flat seventh degree (in C Major, that would be called Bb). It's not built entirely from notes in the scale, but it's a very useful chord regardless.
You probably have some more questions now. Feel free to hunt around the site, and if there's nothing specific, ask another question.