Review: Comedian Starts Twitter Campaign Against Burger King

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Allen, K. (2014, Oct. 14). Comedian starts Twitter campaign against Burger King. PR Daily. Retrieved 16 Oct. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/17436.aspx

Burger King recently released a new commercial featuring a yelling spokesperson, a handful of nuggets, and two “unsuspecting” teens on the street. This commercial followed very similarly to the comedic act of funnyman Billy Eichner, who hosts a Funny or Die segment entitled “Billy on the Street.” In his act, Eichner goes up to random people on the street, asks absurd questions, gives out money, and yells. This style of comedy is recognized by other comedians as Billy’s style – as became apparent after Burger King released the ad. The video can be viewed here: http://ow.ly/CTMjM

Shortly following the video’s release, Eichner slammed the company to his 250,000+ followers on Twitter, stating, “Hey @BurgerKing-thanks for stealing my act for ur new commercial!! Except its not as funny & everyone knows u stole it. GET YOUR OWN IDEAS.”

The following day, Eichner spoke again about the ad’s poor taste, tweeting, “As annoying as it is to have Burger King rip me off, your tweets are incredible. I have the BEST fans on the planet!!! See u at McDonalds!”

Capitalizing on the opportunity, McDonald’s was quick to respond to Eichner’s complaints. Shortly after the disgruntled comedian’s second tweet, the fast-food giant replied, “@billyeichner Can’t wait to see you! Oh, and bring Elena!” – referencing a well-known contestant of “Billy On The Street.”

Other comedians also got in on the Burger King slamming, chiding the corporation for stealing Eichner’s classic material and being unoriginal in their marketing tactics. Prominent celebrity comedian Seth Rogen tweeted to his 2.3 million followers the message, “Yo @BurgerKing, stop stealing from the hilarious @billyeichner and stick to what you’re good at: giving me diarrhea.”

Throughout this social media firestorm, Burger King did not address the new commercial, Eichner’s complaints or the consumer backlash from Eichner’s fans. The company has yet to respond to Eichner’s discontent.

There were a few major issues that jumped out at me in Allen’s article. First of all, Burger King should have been more tasteful in their marketing campaign. Although the ad is entertaining, it is clear to any fan of the Funny or Die network that the content is strangely similar to Eichner’s segment. The company could have utilized Eichner in the commercial himself; however, this is essentially his creative license of his style of work. Without explicit permission from the comedian, it should have been recognized that the ad would leave a bad taste in the mouth of many.

Secondly, Burger King did not respond to the accusations. In our communication classes, we are taught that responses from companies need to be quick, honest, and to-the-point. We are also taught to closely monitor every social media platform.

On social media, one post has the capacity to garner millions of impressions – something that we have witnessed time and time again as the downfall of company reputations. A older (but still relevant!) example of this can be seen with Kryptonite’s lock fiasco back in the early 2000s. When a cyclist posted a video of breaking a Kryptonite lock with a Bic pen on a blogging forum, the company stayed radio silent for five days, and took ten to announce a solution. By this point, millions of consumers vowed that they would no longer trust the brand and the debacle costed Kryptonite over $10 million dollars.

When a company chooses not to respond on social media, this becomes incredibly risky business. Consumers have the chance to skew the information, spread falsities and ruin years of community relations in a few clicks. Burger King would be wise to address this scenario before it spirals out of control further; Eichner’s celebrity friends, like Rogen, have large and powerful fan bases in terms of spending power. In addition to Rogen’s followers, McDonald’s – a huge competitor of Burger King – was quick to remind Eichner that he’s always welcome at their chain. If the competition is quicker to respond to the thread than the actual subject of the complaint, consumers will notice and form opinions.

Review: 101 Different Types of Content

Note: These article reviews are being completed for my PR Campaigns class; however, I feel as though these PR articles are too interesting not to share. I hope you learn as much from them as I did! Links to the articles are provided below.

Armitage, T. (2014, May 07). “101 different types of content.” PR Daily. Retrieved 3 Sept. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/marketing/Articles/16375.aspx

This article I chose was a little different from the classic paragraph explanations of working with PR that PR Daily usually shares. Thomas Armitage is an Internet marketing specialist based in New York who compiled a list of 101 different forms of content that a company can use on their website to encourage customer interaction and site traffic.

I chose this article specifically because when I am looking at increasing web traffic, even within my student organizations on campus, I usually go with the classic Facebook/Twitter/Instagram route. Beyond these social networks, I’m stumped. This list is incredibly important in the PR field because, as they say, “content is king.” Content drives users to a website, engages potential customers, and generates buzz. Many companies go with blogging as their number one choice to engage customers. However, Armitage writes that you have (literally) 100 other options.

I will not post every one of these 101 content options, but I have included a few that were the most interesting/unique ideas. The first item on the list was A/B testing. I had to look this up, because I had no idea what it is. A/B testing is a form of hypothetical statistics testing based on random experiments. If a random experiment pertained to your company (i.e., something new that was being tried out), this may be interesting to your customers.

I also liked the idea of using animated gifs. We see these images a lot on social media sites, particularly via Buzzfeed, but they also can be used to draw people to your site. Animation is an attention grabber in itself – and humor engages many different types of people. Along these same lines, Armitage recommends using comics, cartoons, and even “stupid, fake and funny images.” I follow a business that caters to women (jewelry, clothes, crafts, etc.) on Instagram, and every week they post a funny “TGIF” image, usually involving a woman drinking out of a wine bottle. Entertainment garners interaction! These images always result in myriad comments – i.e., engagement with consumers.

A few more of the unconventional ideas that Armitage suggests could be simpler for companies to employ, and may not require much more in marketing dollars. For instance, background and experience information on company executives may give consumers more faith in the company’s leadership. Charts – as opposed to blocks of text – are usually easily understood for those not familiar with the technical jargon, and provide visual aesthetics. A company could also post videos (music or other) that pertain to their products or services. Send out a newsletter, host a creative promotional contest, create a podcast, or share an infographic informing the customer of what’s going on in the business. As we read in the text, the peer is often trusted over the CEO in today’s businesses. Armitage also recommends consumer reviews, surveys, polls, testimonials, vlogs, user generated content, or even photos to build interaction.

This article contains many other ways that I have not specifically mentioned to drive traffic to a company site using the buzz of content. When creating a PR campaign, many of these routes may not be your first thought – but could contribute as much, if not more, to a company’s success than simply creating a blog. If this online presence is created and cultivated, consumers will interact. In the creation of new content, your company will not only have a stronger web presence, but you will increase your social media shares, strengthen your SEO results, and build your brand reputation. Armitage ends the article with a tagline: “Entertain, educate, persuade, convert.” This is the goal of your web presence.

The Twitter Generation

Twitter, tweeting, retweeting, and tweedos have engulfed our society. If you’re a business – or simply trying to market yourself as the product – Twitter can be absolutely, posi-tweetly beneficial to your success.

Question: How do we stand out from the other millions of tweedos trying to bombard our timelines with feelings, thoughts, and pictures of what they had for lunch?

Answer: You are unique! You already stand out! But really, your tweets should be divided into two different categories – direct responses and tweet engagement.

Direct response tweeting is getting straight to the point. You may have heard the old adage, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” This applies to social media platforms too. Around 20% of your tweets (so, if you’re the kind of tweeter with 10,000 tweets, that’s 2000 tweets) should be you asking for what you want. If you’re a business, this means directly selling to your consumers. Add direct links to your products or special promo codes – just drive customers to your site.

What if you’re just trying to market yourself? Use these two thousand tweets to build yourself as a brand. Post links to your favorite blog, give your professional opinion on an important issue, or share an article you found interesting. Give your audience the impression that you take life seriously 20% of the time.

The other 8000 of your tweets should be building your followers’ interest in who you are. Be creative and thoughtful about your desired tweet reputation. What do you want to be known for? Hopefully you don’t bombard your page with scam links. What do you want your followers’ impression to be? This can be via picture, popular conversation, YouTube link, you name it. Engage when companies do that whole, “which would you choose?” bit. Get that Twitter handle out there. Put on your big boy feathers.

These are just a few ideas that could help you out with your Twitter presence. If you are consistent with your tweet engagement (that means you have to log on more than once a year…) and post things that people care about, you’ll have a stronger following base. It’s that simple.

Follow me on Twitter @abbiwilt!

Happy Social Media Birthday!

In honor of my twenty-first birthday, I’ve decided to post on behalf of all the Instagram birthday collages and Facebook posts that have changed birthdays for Generation Y/Z.

I read an interesting post by Grant Roth on birthday collages and what they mean to teens and young adults. In the article, he argues against the idea that we love posting on people’s walls simply because we want the publicity that a birthday post provides – not everyone can see a text between two people.

Roth says that while this may be true for some people, posting a birthday collage on Instagram is more about showing others why you love someone – an heartfelt expression of love for a technologically-savvy generation. We don’t simply want others to think of us as good people, we actually want to be good people.

I completely agree. As a generation, we communicate and express ourselves not through journaling in a notebook (although kudos to those who have the dedication to do this!) but rather posting on Twitter, sharing photos on Instagram and statusing on Facebook. Phone calls are now emails, and the internet allows us to think about someone, message them online, and refresh an old connection in a few clicks.

What about the birthday collages for people who aren’t on Instagram? On Fathers Day, I always see collages lovingly compiled for fathers everywhere – many of whom will never actually see the post. Do we post because we want others to think we’re thoughtful people? I revert back to Roth’s original idea – we express our love through what we know. We want others to know about the important aspects of our lives, such as how much we love our fathers. For this reason, I post collages without reservation.

So, to those that feel as though a birthday wish on Facebook once a year is a superficial notion of friendship, I’d like to argue that, at our different stages of life, we express who we are and how we love through these social media platforms – especially for myself as a communication student. This is the reason each individual posting deserves individual attention. When we consider that each posting is the expression of a heart, it brings much more meaning into our timelines.

One time, I attended a workshop with a career advisor who told me that communications professionals pay attention to whether or not you respond to every Facebook post you receive on your birthday. This shows if you are thoughtful and intentional with your communication skills. This is a quality valued specifically in the communication industry that’s stuck with me through the years. Professionals gauge whether or not we care based on how we respond – express ourselves – via social media.

Now don’t get me wrong – I very much appreciate those who I get to see in person on my birthday and who thoughtfully type out birthday text messages for me – I’m honored to be close enough (geographically) to receive these sorts of wishes. And, sometimes, we have the good fortune to thank someone for these wishes via phone, text or high-five.

However, social media platforms connect people over thousands of miles. For these Facebooking, Tweeting, and Instagramming individuals, I appreciate every post that I’ve gotten wishing me a happy birthday, and am working at getting better to respond to each and every individual expression of care.

Off to eat cake!

xo