Burger King was the topic of conversation amongst social media aficionados yesterday after hackers took over the brand’s official Twitter account. On a slow President’s Day, the story quickly garnered lots of attention, with blogs and newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Boston Globe reporting on the hack.Mandatory “lessons learned from the Burger King Twitter hack”-type posts followed suit, and by mid-afternoon today the entire episode was fading away. Then this happened: Another brand’s official Twitter account - this time Jeep’s - was hacked, seemingly by the same person. The media jumped on the case once again, with attention-grabbing headlines like this one from Gizmodo: “Exclusive: The Burger King and Jeep Hacker Is Probably This DJ From New England.” Just minutes later, the Twitter accounts for both MTV and BET appeared to have been compromised as well. But according to AdAge, the MTV/BET hack was “merely a joke following up on the Twitter account hacks of Jeep and Burger King.” So, here comes the inevitable question numerous have already addressed: what should social media managers take away from Twitter’s recent events? Here are our thoughts:
- Remember your brand’s reputation. Luckily for Burger King and Jeep, it was immediately apparent that their Twitter accounts had been hacked. No one thought for a second that these well-established brands would take to Twitter the way the hacker(s) did. It was obvious that the accounts had been breached, so the brands’ reputations weren’t truly damaged.
- A sense of humor is key. Burger King chose to make light of the hack by welcoming their new followers (the fast food chain gained approximately 30,000 in one day). McDonald’s tweeted a cheeky claim of innocence - and Cadillac did the same. Like Oreo’s clever Super Bowl tweet, a smart quip gives brands a unique chance to engage with their audience.
- Just don’t take that sense of humor too far. Although some may praise MTV & BET for acting quickly in response to the second Twitter hack in 24 hours, others will likely feel duped and annoyed that the accounts pretended to be hacked. It’s extremely important to be honest and transparent at all times; you don’t want to become known as “the brand who cried wolf.”
- Look on the bright side. Dozens of articles will be written about these brands in the next few hours - on top of the dozens that have already been published. Burger King and Jeep will likely also continue to gain followers as a result of the hacks, and people will be keeping a close eye on Twitter to see what brand will fall victim next. In the end, a simple Twitter hack isn’t going to hurt anyone - it just gives us social media enthusiasts one more thing to analyze.
Super Bowl XLVII was arguably one of the most entertaining games in recent history. It had pretty much everything a viewer could ask for: a pair of animated coaches who also happen to be brothers; a great comeback by the 49ers that had everyone on the edge of their seat; a fabulous halftime show brought to you by the Queen B herself; and a 35-minute blackout to boot. So yes, all that was great - but as marketers, we’re here to discuss more than the entertainment factor. Which advertiser won this year’s Brand Bowl? During this year’s game, brands chalked up $3.8 million for 30 seconds of precious airtime. Despite being the most expensive ad buy on television, according to the Wall Street Journal, “buying a spot during the big game may be the most efficient play on Madison Avenue.” Well, Madison Avenue certainly learned a lesson about “efficient plays” last night as the power of social media proved itself. Shortly after the now-infamous blackout began, Oreo took to Twitter with this clever message: In a move that resulted in more than 15,000 retweets and coverage from dozens of outlets ranging from The Today Show to Forbes to the Huffington Post and beyond, Oreo won the Brand Bowl without spending a penny. Several other brands apparently had a similar train of thought and quickly posted blackout-themed tweets as well, but Oreo had already won the race. The episode raises a valid question: will social media marketing eventually overtake traditional advertising, or is it simply a nice way to complement traditional ads when the opportunity presents itself? We’re not predicting that Super Bowl ads will become any less important (or expensive) in the near future, but Oreo’s tweet proves that brands can -- and should -- use social media to their advantage. In a world where marketers are constantly connected, events like last night’s blackout present a gold mine of opportunities for brands to engage with their audience directly. Oreo acted quickly, and it paid off - a slam dunk in the dark.
BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard was featured in the Boston Herald today for his successful bid to bring Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to his social media class at Emerson. Gerzof Richard, who doubles as a professor at Emerson College, led his students in a two-month Twitter campaign to bring the football star to campus - and succeeded on Thursday evening. To read the entire article, click the photo or click here.