One is never too far away from swathes of corporeal salacity on the Internet these days, and ASOS were not scared of skirting the edges of it earlier this month, when they pushed the boundaries of social media decency on Twitter by unashamedly monopolising on the lewdly titled #penisblouse. They took one blouse with some ill-placed piping in the shape of the last turkey in the shop, reacted positively to a bit of base hashtagging and came out smiling. Getting involved in these slightly daring social media interactions can sometimes blow up in your face (lol), or go shooting off in all directions (rofl), but it is part of the growing trend of brands taking a few more risks and adding a little more Carry-on style filth into their marketing mix.
For someone like me who enjoys a bit of cleverly targeted taboo-smashing tomfoolery now and then, these slightly risqué approaches demonstrate both a sense of humour and an inciteful self-awareness of how their brand is probably perceived by the wider public. This astute and ballsy approach was demonstrated to great effect when an apparently genuine Facebook post from a disgruntled man, jokingly railed against Bodyform’s positive portrayal of menstruation for having duped him into getting a girlfriend under false pretences. Bodyform came back with an immaculately produced and genuinely funny video apology on YouTube which patronisingly vindicated the ranter’s complaint, drove a bus through tired stereotypes about periods and climaxed with the revelation that women fart too! (I still don’t believe it).
Those of us who think their lives are momentarily ruined by unwittingly buying a blouse with a genitally-evocative neckline, or who didn’t realise that the menstrual cycle is no picnic, should maybe pay a visit to #FirstWorldProblems to vent their spleen. The charity WATERisLIFE turned this vacuous hashtag to their advantage by commandeering it for a far more worthy cause.
The footage of poverty-stricken Haitians reading out a selection of laughable tweets to the camera, highlighting the absurd triviality of what many in the developed world perceive as problematic, is a very effective piece of reverse psychology with a genuinely important mission. With approaching nearly 1.5 million views, I just hope no-one broke a nail clicking on the donate button.
Clicking a button with unfavourable consequences, is apparently something the good people at Kitchen Aid are very adept at, if their recent Twitter activity is anything to go by. One unfortunate employee – who is I imagine currently saying ‘Do you want fries with that?’ – accidentally posted a bad taste joke about Obama’s ex-grandmother during a presidential debate from @KitchenAidUSA, instead of their personal Twitter account. After a hasty deletion, some retweets, a couple of grovelling apologies and a statement saying that the individual would never darken their social media door again, it was all but over. They should have just said, ‘Sorry for the mix-up!’
It should serve as a timely lesson to any community managers working with multiple Twitter accounts, to always double check which account they’re about to publish to ensure they’re always tweeting with impunity.
The Metropolitan Police’s #thinklikeaburglar campaign the other week was clearly launched with the most benevolent of intentions, but the hashtag’s almost immediate hijack, descended quickly into comedy oblivion and was hammered with twitticisms galore.
Ultimately, sanity prevailed and things slowly reverted to their primary purpose and started back on course. It shows that perhaps a little bashtagging now and then can provide an inadvertant boost to the profile of a Twitter campaign, albeit unwittingly. On this occasion, for the Metropolitan Police, this was clearly more by luck than good judgement. Had there been a little more forethought about the potential fallout from such an inviting hashtag, maybe the raft of punsters and would-be comedians would have taken their business elsewhere.
My parting advice for you all, is choose your hashtag wisely or you might get some unwelcome intruders.