If you’ve been online in the past 48 hours I am sure you’ve heard the buzz about a band of digital assailants that are hijacking several notable brands Twitter accounts. It all began yesterday with the Burger King Twitter account falling victim to a hacker(s) that turned the channel into a faux McDonalds account for several hours. The hacker(s) we’re quick to turn out some degrading content which would make any brand squeamish to be associated with. From the looks of things it appears the hackers might have caught Burger Kings social team and or social agency off for Presidents Day, due to the fact that this account was left compromised for several hours before Twitter was notified to go in and disable it. If you’re curious to see how the Burger King debacle played out, give this play by play from My Community Manager (www.mycmgr.com) a quick perusal.
I am happy to report that later that afternoon Burger King was able to regain control of their Twitter account and responded to their fans (including 30,000+ new followers gained in just a few hours) with a touch of class and humor.
Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2013
While the burger giant was now again in control, it appears that this same hacker(s) was able to commandeer the Jeep Twitter account this morning, and deploy a similar set of renegade tactics (posting inappropriate images, posting vulgar commentary, and claiming that Jeep sold out to Cadillac) which caused yet another internet swirl. For a brief synopsis of this web heist check out Business Insider’s story on the event. I applaud both Burger King and Jeep for the fun and supportive back and forth between brands that occurred after both accounts were restored to their rightful owners.
.@jeep Glad everything is back to normal.
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2013
.@burgerking Thanks BK. Let us know if you want to grab a burger and swap stories – we’ll drive.
— Jeep (@Jeep) February 20, 2013
It appears that some brands we’re all too eager for the opportunity to “get hacked” at took it upon themselves to plan their own Twitter heist. MTV and BET (both owned by Viacom) thought they would cash in on the social conversation by planning a hack of their own. At some point this afternoon both Twitter Handles swapped branded imagery, and began tweeting that they’d been hacked.
This timely ploy by marketers at both networks certainly allowed them to jump in on the social chatter around hacking, but it quickly backfired. Much of the sentiment around this stunt turned sour quickly once it was discovered that this was farce, and in the wake of other brands who had just been hacked for real. In my opinion the only humorous thing that transpired from this MTV / BET botched marketing tactic was this reaction from the Denny’s social team.
OMG we hacked ourselves because it’s the cool thing to do! yfrog.com/h2tdxup
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) February 19, 2013
The last 48 hours in the social space has given me a couple of things to think about. I feel strongly that current social media environment requires brands to think smarter, act more quickly, and produce content which gives them a seat at the table within relevant main stream conversations. I do not believe this new “real time” social environment means that brands should forget about acting ethically and with integrity at all times. While the intentions behind the MTV / BET faux hack were more than likely innocent, I still question the decision making around this stunt, and why a brand would chance painting itself with the brush of negativity in the era when social media can make sentiment around a brand pull an about face in an instant.
What are your thoughts on the recent Twitter hacks? Real or Faux?
How do you feel about MTV’s /BET’s attempt to garner a share of the social conversation through this timely stunt?
Last year I watched the Super Bowl Commercials through the lens of seeing how brands integrated social into the advertisements. Social was just starting to weave its way onto our television sets and marketers know that a grand stage like the Super Bowl is as good a time as any to put all the cards on the table when it comes to advertising. This year I set out to watch with a similar lens but was curious to see how far brands have come on the social integration continuum, and how brands are innovating around the viewing experience. Tactics like leveraging hashtags in commercial spots to extend the conversation into social and onto mobile, have become table stakes; challenging ‘creatives’ to think beyond and push towards the white space to achieve breakthrough. While this seems to be a likely next step, I was surprisingly underwhelmed by the social integration and innovations as seen on television this year. Don’t get me wrong there were some great advertisements (all of which can be seen here, thanks to Ad Age), but none of them really took it to the next level by way of new creative thinking from a social integration standpoint. Given the speed at which the social space changes, I was bracing myself for both creative concepts and content worthy of sharing that would change the advertising game.
While television was not able to deliver on the social wow factor I was looking for, quick thinking social media teams and their agency partners were. However, not by way of big budget commercials, but by hyper topical content that followed a simple formula [The Right Content + The Right Time + Targeted Audience = Engagement].
For a bit of context (not that you need it because these stories have already gone viral) the Super Bowl trumps all when it comes to media hype and attention. So how can you effectively compete with all of that noise? Now try turning off the power to half the stadium for 30 minutes and see what that does for your brand breakthrough and recall, and how a brief power failure shifts the offline/online conversation. There is a good chance some people might have even forgotten about the commercial spot you just dropped 4 Million dollars on. On a dime the Super Bowl 47 #Blackout shifted one of the biggest media conversations of the year. Even the Super Bowl producers didn’t exactly know how to handle it, but did their best trying to balance localized commercial broadcasts, with cobbled together highlight reels of the game and color commentary by sideline sports reporters. While many in the media struggled to simply get their bearings a handful of brands and smart marketers seized the opportunity to engage with online communities in innovative and creative ways, keeping themselves a part of the conversation unfolding in real time.
By now the below tweets from Oreo, Tide, and Audi should look rather familiar, yet I wanted to include them as I think they tell an important story on how a marketer can take a brand agnostic topical conversation and creatively insert themselves into it, thus increasing brand recognition and engagement. Within minutes of the #Blackout, the brands featured below had responses ready and capitalized on the conversation. Some of which were able to execute instantaneous paid media buys behind the tweets extending reach even further. Many other brands stepped up to the plate, including U.S. Cellular, which saw a significant lift in engagement over its #SB47 #Blackout Tweet and Facebook post when compared to other branded content. Our success was just a blip on the map but allowed us to stay relevant, and be a part of the conversation when others were not. Sometimes you have to take the time to celebrate the small wins.
— U.S. Cellular(@USCellular) February 4, 2013
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29…
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Sending some LEDs to the @mbusa Superdome right now…
— Audi (@Audi) February 4, 2013
— Tide (@tide) February 4, 2013
This was the advertising wow moment I was waiting for during this years Super Bowl. It didn’t happen on television. It happened on our laptops, our tablets, and our smartphones. It happened in real time, right before our eyes. A shift in how brands think, market, and engage is becoming more clear now as more of us have access to 2nd screen devices. Social Business thought leader David Armano, summed this idea up nicely in a recent article he wrote entitled “Did Real Time Marketing Win the Superbowl?” Real time marketing not only stole the show and shifted focus from the 1st screen to the 2nd screen at this years Super Bowl, but it also sends a clear message about how a brands marketing team needs to be thinking about structure and planning for the future. The formula of [The Right Content + The Right Time + Targeted Audience = Engagement] only works if a team can execute against it.
How do you feel about the near seamless execution of many of the brands that dipped their toe into the “real time marketing” pool during the Super Bowl this year? What are your thoughts on the concept of real time marketing? How far can we continue to push the envelop on this?
*Photo Credit – www.bloomberg.com
The idea of integrating social components into television gained significant traction in 2012. In addition to TV, marketers understand how important the second and third screens are in consumers’ lives, and are working to make it easier for them to discover content, learn about products, and ultimately make a purchase. Smartphone ownership is over 50% and tablet ownership is over 25% among U.S. adults and is growing at a significant pace, as access to these technologies becomes easier and less expensive. This new connectivity is changing how consumers are engaging with traditional media like television, radio, and print. Their wireless device is almost certainly in hand or within reach, allowing them to research, converse, and engage with brands and others around the globe in a way that was not possible before.
As the year went on the on air social progression moved at a quick pace. Brands continued to tag the ends of their commercial spots with social media icons communicating to viewers “hey we’re social”, to integrating full social campaign brand messaging into commercial spots. Social user generated content like status updates, tweets, and photos; also saw their debut in some branded commercials, further demonstrating the importance of making the consumer feel like they are a part of the conversation. Live television also saw a transition, as news broadcasts, political events, and sporting events made a move from simply listing the on screen Twitter @Handles of the speakers, to the use of on screen hastags to inspire the online conversation. During the latter half of 2012 live television transitioned again to current state of actually syndicating the user generated content on screen which captured and displayed the real time conversation happening on social networks. Making strides to stay relevant and be a part of the conversation.
With that said I am confident that in 2012 the use of social components on television aided in extending the conversation around shows, brands, and products. Consumers took to social communities built by television programs and brands, and did so with relative ease; as their smartphones and tablets were within reach at all times. These new real time social connections allowed consumers to get more out of the viewing experience as they had opportunity to share reactions, thoughts, product reviews, and were provide a forum to connect with others that shared a similar interest. While television added more social functionality in 2012, I think we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg on what is possible, and I am excited to see what’s next.
So what is next for television as it pertains to social?
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, and have some thoughts on what would make the experience even richer for viewers/consumers as social integration with television evolves in 2013.
Choose Your Own Adventure. These books we’re wildly popular when I was a kid, perhaps there is something that can be derived from theses stories in the television space? I’d like to see broadcasts leverage social voting by way of hashtag (Ex. #OptionA or #OptionB) to help viewers create the story line for popular shows. Directors would use social suggestions to create the plot twists to the shows. I suspect viewers would be highly engaged in the process, and continue to tune in each week to see how the story line plays out.
Big Data. The sheer volume of conversation happening around any one television show or commercial that uses a hashtag is astonishing. Keeping this in mind, all of this conversation is public domain, and can be harvested by anyone with some time and a few basic social listening tools. The wealth of information that can be derived out of these conversations is limitless. Brands should be looking at this as a way to learn more about their customers/prospects, help them to segment, identify trends, and target the right ads (relevance) at the right time (timeliness) by way of paid social (scale).
Meet The Cast. Have you even wondered what it would be like to meet your favorite star? I’d like to see the cast of the show engaging in social with viewers during the broadcasts. Think about the lift in online/offline conversations those shows would see if viewers knew the stars of the show would be talking with them during/after the show. The buzz from this action would extend well beyond the social space and into water cooler conversation, as people return to their day to day, and share the excitement around their favorite star tweeting them during the show.
Move Beyond The Hashtag. While the hastag has been a staple way to connect viewers online as well as aggregate and measure conversation, I’d like to see brands and television programs think about new ways to spark conversation and gain comprehensive data. There is no shortage of social platforms, and am excited to see the kinds of creativity that could be unleashed if fresh ideas to achieve engage were implemented.
Cross Platform Integration. Television shows often try and contain where the social conversation happens (Ex. hashtags). Rather than restrict where your viewers talk, empower them to talk openly, everywhere. I’d like to see programs look at ways to integrate other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare (to name a few), in addition to Twitter. Opening up the discussion will bring in more viewers willing to engage on the social platforms they are the most comfortable with. For marketers that are looking for insights into the conversations happening across all social platforms, they are accessible via enterprise level social listening tools. Sticking to just a hashtag, seems like an easy way out – well at least not the most creative.
Exclusive Content. Encourage viewers to watch with tablets and smartphones, then engage via social during broadcast. In return provide them exclusive content, unseen footage, behind the scenes access, first views of trailers, etc. Making the social community around the show/brand feel special and elite, will spark loyalty and generate even more buzz about the show/brand.
I am excited for what 2013 holds as social evolves and is incorporated even more into our television experience. Unique second screen integration will be critical for television programs and brands to differentiate, and reach consumers on their terms.
Have an idea you’d like to see this coming year as social integrates with television? Share it below in the comments.
As the popularity of social networking increases, so does the desire to want to be a part of every emerging social networking trend. People want to be “early adopters” of these new networks whether they know why or not; after all its human nature to want to feel like we’re part of a group, we’re social beings. Maybe being first to these new networks carries some weight, some bragging rights, a feeling of exclusivity, a new icon to post on your blog, and more often than not an inability to remain effective in engaging with the people you’ve worked so hard to build relationships with in the first place.
This holds true unless you’ve built all of your social networks to look alike, which I see people do all too often. The same people, the same conversations, it’s unfortunately the new norm. Take a second to reflect on this for a minute. Is your Facebook network the same as your Twitter network? Is your Twitter network the same as your Google + network? Is your Google + network the same as say your Pinterest network? You get my point.
I suppose it isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not doing much to connect you to new people and open your eyes to new experiences and learnings – which is the intent of most social networks. In today’s fast paced world of work, family, and other personal commitments let’s face it; we just don’t have the time to be effective in every social media platform that comes around.
Individuals are not only ones flying like moths to a flame when the newest social networks pop up. I’ve seen big brands also make these leaps just to be first just for no other reason than just that. Be first. How are these new networks fitting into their overall content strategy? Will these networks help them better connect with their target consumers? Are they forgetting about the consumers they’ve already built relationships with within their other social communities? As I think about it more, this approach of constant social channel expansion could be detrimental to the communities big brands have worked so hard to foster online.
From a brand standpoint, it makes sense to double down on your social network(s) of choice. It’s critical for you to focus efforts on the social channels where your target consumers are. Think about planning content for this channel or in some cases channels, which resonates with these consumers, engages them, inspires them to take action, and builds further interest and connection with the brand. When the timing is right and thought has been given to how to best incorporate a new social channel into your content mix, then and only then, think about adding a new channel to your businesses social properties. While being first to a new social channel seems cool and cutting edge, it turns un-cool really quick if you’re unable to serve up meaningful content to the consumers that connect with you in this new space, causing them to become disinterested in your brand and possibly loosing them as a customer.
I’m interested to get your take on this too. How do you feel about the ability to remain engaged with the networks you have built as you activate more and more social channels? How do you manage your content mix to ensure the various social channels you participate in work for you or your brand? I’m looking forward to the discussion.
Super Bowl Sunday brings us big parties, a big game, and even bigger commercials. Every year the bar seems to climb higher from a creativity standpoint and brands are reaching further to get something to resonate with consumers. It seems more people come to work on Monday morning and discuss the commercials more than they do the game, which was certainly the case in my office today. In fact the Super Bowl is the one day a year I use my DVR to rewind commercials and re-watch them rather that simply buzzing right by them.
This year I watched the highly anticipated commercials through a new lens. I wanted to see just how big brands would leverage the use of social media to extend their overall reach and continue the conversation with consumers post view. Last year it seemed as if the use of social within the realm of TV was just starting to take off, so I was confident the this year’s Super Bowl would be the spring board to really see some great integration.
To my surprise very few brands added this social layer to their commercials, when you look at all of those that purchased spots during the big game. Perhaps there are still a lot of unknowns as the space is still relatively new. Maybe when you are investing 3.5 million dollars on a 30 second television spot, you just stick with what works? Or maybe you take a risk, try something different, and get people talking about your brand in a new way? I’m not saying I have the right answer, but in my opinion trying new things [although not without challenges] often pays off in spades.
Out of all of the commercials I saw yesterday only two brands chose to use a Twitter hashtag to get viewers buzzing about the commercial they just saw. What a great way to continue the conversation and buzz about the brand – Kudos to Audi [#SoLongVampires] and Bud Light [#MakeItPlatinum]. I am certain that both brands saw significant traffic to both their social channels as well as their websites post airing of these commercial with the integrated social layer – even if the hashtags chosen are sub-optimal and don’t really speak to the brand they represent. In this case I am talking about Audi’s play off the Vampire craze that is seemingly oozing out of pop culture in the wake of the Twilight series. Not sure association with Vampires is a way to sell luxury automobiles, but it sure gets people talking about the brand. Mission accomplished Audi.
Coca-Cola leveraged their infamous polar bears, directing viewers to CokePolarBowl.com which took users to a custom Facebook app where you could watch the bear’s reactions to the big game. The URL now re-directs viewers Coke’s YouTube channel that has been re-skinned to play off the polar bear theme. A recent article on Ad-Age reports that more than 600,000 viewers were following the live stream of the Polar Bowl Facebook App by the third quarter. Even the @CocaCola Twitter handle was turned over to the bears and Coke is reporting a 12.5% increase in US followers prior to kickoff. This is a great example of how brands can look to extend both the conversation and consumer engagement beyond the realm of just television.
Another way I did see brands try and differentiate their commercials during the Super Bowl this year, was by use of a 3rd party app accessible on any Smartphone or tablet. It was clear these brands such as Pepsi, Best Buy, and Toyota were trying to reach those with connected devices and serve them additional messages. The app these brands turned to was called Shazam, which when activated listens to the audio track of a song, or in this case commercial, the can serve up the name, artist info, and in this case exclusive content only those that engaged with the commercial by way of the Shazam app, could experience. While I am an avid user of the app, I can’t see myself reaching in my pocket for my phone, accessing the app, and recording the audio from the commercial in an effort to get a nugget of new content. Heck, it takes me more than 30 seconds to get my phone out of my pocket sometimes. Although this approach of integrating Shazam into the commercial didn’t resonate much with me personally, I applaud these brands efforts for thinking differently and trying something new. In hindsight I could have leveraged that good old DVR to dig deeper on this one and Shazam! Get that exclusive content.
This years Super Bowl commercials are only the beginning. I predict [and I’m sure many others in the social business realm do as well] that social integration will continue to gain traction and popularity thus finding a home within television commercials. We’re even beginning to see a shift in how TV is broadcast to us adding in social elements, like live tweets and Facebook updates from sports journalists, news anchors, and even politicians. This can be seen during many a televised game, news broadcast, or even your favorite reality TV show. Commercials are not far behind, as more and more brands look to increase visibility, share of voice, and connect deeper with consumers; the social advertising layer will become a new norm.