Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Alex From Target

1. Yesterday, Target tweeted: “We heart Alex too!” Do you think there’s more that can be done with the meme, or is Target’s acknowledgement enough?

2. It’s hard for brands to know how much to engage with memes and other inside jokes online. Can you think of some brands that have done really well on social with these sort of temporary cultural moments? Any that have backfired?

3. How can brands maintain a sense of humor on social media without becoming too silly? Is Target maintaining a good balance?

Brands are smart to join light-hearted bandwagons every once now and then. And social media is the perfect vehicle to express this levity.

Deploying humor online can be tricky, but when done right—as Target did yesterday—it can draw genuine laughs, build reservoirs of good will, and sharpen brand equity.

@GoldmanSachs did it right when @GSElevator’s book deal collapsed, snarking, “Guess elevators go up and down.” @CIA did it right when it joined Twitter, announcing, “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” Even @WhiteHouse got in on the game, Rickrolling one concerned citizen who tweeted about the dry subject of fiscal policy.

On the other hand, miss the mark even by a little, and the joke can backfire. This happened to @WashingtonPost, which embraced an Upworthy-style headline in a tweet about child molestation, and @CNNBrk, which followed suit when reporting the stabbing of an 11-year-old girl.

The bottom line: “Alex From Target” has fueled feel-good, free press about the company, which should be happy to be in the news for something other than being hacked.

Addendum: Success!

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