Don't Trend On Me!

A place to discuss terrible public relations and marketing.

Wednesday

04

March 2015

Please Stop Trend-Hopping

by Conrad Updog

We reached End Times Twitter as last week drew to a close and an insufferable debate over the color of a dress basically shut down the internet.

I am not sure anyone could possibly care one way or another, much less care enough to talk about it nonstop for roughly 24 hours straight, and yet this is what happened.

I don't think the internet should be a place for ~serious issues only~ but I don't get how any of this was even supposed to be fun, really.

In any event, the combination of The Dress Twitter and House of Cards Twitter (which went into activation after the show's third season was released on Netflix this past Frdiay) brought brands out of the woodwork to butt in with their lazy photoshops linking them to what the actual human beings were talking about.

It was truly the apotheosis of mindless brand trend-hopping, and it was absolutely excruciating. Adweek had a roundup of all the brands who chimed in on Twitter. It is all terrible, terrible, terrible.

But beyond being objectively awful, it's unclear what these brands actually accomplished. Are they adding value to the discussion? Did anyone who saw Ihop jump in with "idk what color that dress is but pancakes are definitely gold and butter is definitely white" stop and think, "Man, I fucking love Ihop and I want to give them my money?"

Online advertising is so cheap that it's sort of incredible that brands are paying real American dollars for someone to sit around and come up with this stuff. In looking at Adweek's story, it's impressive how uniform all of the brand responses were. Is "Actually, the colors are (the colors that are in our logo)!" the best people can come up with? And if so, shouldn't you just buy a fucking banner ad? People will probably ignore it at the same rate as your trash brand tweets, but at least you won't be embarrassing yourselves in the process.

The other funny thing in looking at Adweek's roundup is how many people missed the initial discussion of the dress Thursday night and jumped on the following day.

I can't tell whether it was a case of a higher-up freaking out Friday morning that a meme happened and Oreos had nothing to say about it or an instance where the person running the account pitched the idea immediately but couldn't get "We sell Oreos in both gold and blue packaging" approved until the following day.

Either way, it sort of highlights the absurdity of brands trying to act like people on social media when they either a) can't get approval to talk about a topic before humans are already finished discussing it or b) aren't nearly as funny as people (to be fair, if the Oreo social media person were funny or original, he or she probably wouldn't be running the Oreo Twitter account for a living).

The House of Cards epidemic was more of the same, with brands who have absolutely no connection to the show jumping in to say, essentially, "We are aware that there is a show called House of Cards that people will be watching in the coming days."

My favorite of the bunch was this one from KFC, which didn't really give a shit about how little overlap there is between people who eat KFC and people who watch House of Cards.

Like yeah, I, a bougey urban millennial who watches House of Cards, will put KFC in my body despite having enough money to afford actual food. This is what I want to eat with my premium television.

SMDH.

Conrad Updog

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