Monday, March 2, 2015

Say No to #TheDress: When Brands Should Stay Quiet

If you are a internet-using human being with eyes and ears then you likely have discussed #TheDress with someone you know. And as a result, you may or may not like that person anymore depending on whether they say blue and black or white and gold.

Look, I loved #TheDress. I spent the better part of my evening the night it broke the internet getting into faux-arguments with my friends and family about how we were seeing different colors and trying to decipher the madness behind it all.

You know who I didn't want to talk about it with?

IHOP, Coca-Cola, Lincoln Motors, just to name a few. But they insisted on being a part of the conversation anyway for some reason known only to the poor, misguided souls behind their Twitter accounts.

These are all legitimately deranged. Febreze is even over here trying to join the party a full 24 hours later. 

How many memorable posts are you seeing there? Just look at the brands tweeting: Red Lobster? Cottonelle? SPAGHETTIOS??????

What. Is. Happening. 

We all should know what happened. Oreo and the Super Bowl blackout happened. 

Oreo tweeted out the above image during the infamous Super Bowl blackout a few years back and Twitter lost its mind. Rightfully so. The Super Bowl is the most-watched event of all time, year after year. Everyone is tweeting about it while it's happening, and Oreo got a great impromptu zinger in there. 

Only now, everyone (Oreo included) has been trying to recapture the lightning that was so delicately caught in a bottle once upon a time. 

In retrospect, why did anyone care what Oreo had to say during the biggest sporting event of the year? Their brand kind of connects to football with commercials featuring the Manning brothers in spots during the big game, but that's about it. But for whatever reason, we didn't question it much when it happened. 

But we should now. We should hold these brands accountable for just looking at what's trending and thinking they can push in on it in order to look like the cool kids off their brand? (Who knows what their endgame is at this point?) Listen, no one on Twitter is cool talking about random trends and dress colors. That's the norm and the norm is generally fun. And when brands nose their way in they don't look cool or funny, they look the exact opposite. They appear as if they're trying too hard and their jokes fall flat. 

Look at those four #TheDress tweets above. Are any of those even remotely original insights into what was happening or are they just: "HAHA. Colors, amirite?" 

They say nothing about the brand and do nothing for the social presence of those brands. All they serve to do is show that they think their followers are so dumb as to be impressed that someone on their social teams could look at the trends bar and make a very, very, very obvious joke. 

The point in all of this being: be true to your brand. Cottonelle: unless The Cottonelle Movie is coming out next year, you have no reason to be live tweeting the Oscars. Same goes for you, Red Lobster (your lame tweets can't save you now). 

The only brands that could maybe make an argument for #TheDress tweeting are clothing lines or fashion-related brands. Lincoln Motors also tried to get in on #LlamaDrama and guess what? They're not a zoo. They are a car company and all they're saying about themselves when they post about trending topics that have nothing to do with their brand is that they have no idea what their brand even is. 

I know it's tempting. You want to be a part of the conversation that your followers are having. But for the good of your brand and your followers, the next time you want to participate in a heavily trending discussion, switch off of your brand account and go over to your personal. Everyone will have a lot more fun.