Social media allows brands to start conversations, but are they conversations worth starting?
Lately it seems like nearly every ad closes with an invitation to “join the conversation” with a dedicated Twitter hashtag. Over half of the Superbowl ads closed with a hashtag, and I’ve even seen hashtags at the end of cheesy local TV ads. Hashtags can be used effectively to amplify TV content, but I think many brands miss the point.
Many brands assume that consumers are dying to join a brand’s conversations. Instead, consumers have conversations with each other. Brands can be a part of those conversations, but the best examples I’ve seen are when they enable conversations that consumers are already having.
The marketing world is buzzing about “culture-jacking”, demonstrated by Oreo’s timely tweet during the Superbowl. When the power outage happened, Oreo quickly posted an Oreo image that said “You can still dunk in the dark”. It was clever and widely shared. The image provided a piece of media that helped consumers communicate about the power-outage.
But what I found far more compelling was Oreo’s “Daily Twist” campaign last summer. To celebrate 100 years of the Oreo, Oreo posted a new image every day for 100 days, using the Oreo to celebrate different events. It launched with a Gay Pride Oreo, and continued with Shark Week, Mars Rover, Elvis Week and 96 other images.
With “Daily Twist”, Oreo didn’t merely start brand-centric conversations that consumers could easily ignore. Instead, they inserted themselves in a positive way into conversations that consumers were already having.
A hashtag alone does not make a conversation. They are only a means to an end.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away one signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. I’ll pick one comment. Thanks!)