Image

There’s a new trend in marketing right now where companies go out of their way to create what is known as a “social media presence” for their brand. An addition to the ever-elongating list of methods that corporations have invented in their attempts to trick people into buying overpriced shit they almost never need, a social media presence can be most accurately described as an online personification of a company that REALLY wants to connect with you on facebook or twitter. Despite the generally harmless nature of these personifications, facebook/twitter friendship with social media personalities almost always has its pitfalls. Once you’ve accepted their friend requests (i.e. ‘liked’ their facebook page) you realize almost immediately that these social media personalities are nothing but narcissistic, self-involved assholes. All they do is talk about themselves and how great they are. “Blah, blah, blah check out MY new promotion.” “Blah, blah, blah, how great are MY prices?” It’s almost like they’re not your real friends at all and they just exist because some marketing survey somewhere said that a company’s profits will rise 1.5% if it pays a kid minimum wage to trade in his dreams of being a writer and hire him to personify Colgate brand toothpaste on a twitter account. No disrespect to you kid; I respect your hustle. I’d probably take that job too if I could get it. Mess around on facebook and twitter all day and get paid to do it? You, my friend, are living the dream.

Even though most rational people understand that social media personalities are really just marketing devices, this seemingly has not stopped companies from instructing their social media teams to try and connect to their followers on a human level. Somewhere along the line, marketing executives must have realized that people would be more likely to buy stuff from their companies if their social media personalities appeared to be affable characters rather than the self-involved jerks that they had traditionally been in the past. This is how you get the aforementioned Colgate tweeting a question like this during the holiday season:

“It’s the season for giving! How have you helped bring a smile to someone in need?”

On paper, I can see why this might be a good marketing technique. It’s like “hey everyone, it’s your good friend Colgate here to remind you that Colgate celebrates holidays too. Like a real human! Also, we support values like generosity and smiling! Next time you’re in the toothpaste aisle, think about how we like smiling and holidays just like you and pick up a box of Colgate!” In practice though, you have to wonder; who it is that actually responds to these questions? How lonely and desperate for a connection must a person be to delude himself into thinking that Colgate actually cares about his answer to that question? Worse yet, if the only people who respond to these things are lonely, desperate people, I can only imagine the types of responses Colgate must get:

“Been a while since I’ve made anyone smile Colgate. It seems like I’m a constant source of disappointment to everyone around me”

“Wish I had someone to give something to this year. I pushed all my friends and family away even though they were just trying to help me. Damn this meth addiction!”

“Season for giving? Why don’t you just call it the Christmas season you freedom hating commie liberal?”

I wonder whether the people who run Colgate’s twitter account have been given the necessary training to deal with responses like this. In my opinion, if someone is responding to these questions sincerely, it is definitely a cry for help of sorts. Let’s cut the middleman out altogether and just make the Colgate twitter account a forum for depression counselling. Talk about bringing a smile to those in need Colgate! Unless that was all talk?

My fascination with corporate twitter accounts began when I was scrolling across twitter one day and I came across one for hyhotels.com; a discount hotel booking website based in Ireland. I don’t know what it was that provoked me to follow @hyhohotels on twitter, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Hyhohotels has, without a doubt, the best corporate twitter account in existence, if for no other reason than the fact that NONE of its tweets do anything positive for the promotion of its brand. Whereas other brands try to personify themselves inoffensively, with a sense of subtlety, Hyhohotels does the exact opposite. Whether it is through its use of irrelevant, often offensive non-sequitors, or through its attempts to nonsensically manipulate global trending topics to attract traffic, hyhohotels continually churns out hilarious, terrible attempts at brand marketing in less than 140 characters at a time. To give you a better understanding of what I mean, here are a few examples:

“Recession is when a neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. Take a break with http://www.hyhohotels.com and avoid both”

What? No. That’s not what either of those words mean. Also, how the hell would booking a vacation during a time of economic downturn help me keep my job? Even more puzzling, how would my vacation help my neighbour keep his job? Or, was my vacation supposed to stop the economic downturn altogether? I DON’T GET IT. What if I book a vacation with another hotel booking website? Do I still achieve the same results? The whole thing is very confusing.

“A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”

That’s it. That’s the whole tweet. No attempt to tie that back to their marketing strategy, just some good old fashioned reiteration of traditional gender roles. No idea how this would help them book hotel rooms unless they’re really trying to focus in on that untapped market filled with patriarchs who only want to book hotels from companies who share similar, patriarchal values.

“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”

Again, no attempt to tie this back to their marketing strategy. Hyhohotels appears to be advocating shoe theft and criticism of others. Does that mean that if I book one of their hotels, the staff will criticize me and then steal my shoes? Sounds like a terrible vacation. I get that it’s supposed to be a joke, but like, why…? Why does hyhohotels.com think that its twitter account needs to be a resource for comedy? No one is recruiting you to join the cast of SNL hyhotels.com so you can stop with the amateur hour.

“#DontYouJustHateWhen Ted says #ICantHaveARelationshipWithYouIf the #First20SongsOnShuffle are #20yearsofblink182. Book http://www.hyhohotels.com

This is one of those cases where the person who runs hyhohotels’ twitter tries to string together a series of unrelated trending topics and somehow relate these back to the hyhohotels website (coherence optional) in hopes of attracting traffic. I don’t even know how to dissect this one.

There is nothing I wish for more in this world than for hyhotels.com to exist as a real person. If it existed, I would make it my best friend and walk around with it and watch people react as it spouted nonsense like the examples above. I’d encourage it to try its comedy act out at open mic nights just to see the crowd’s reaction:

Open Mic host: “You might have seen this next comic on the internet while booking hotels, please welcome hyhohotels.com”

Hyhohotels.com: “Hey, how’s it going everyone? #HaveYouEverNoticed how some #Hotel booking websites have bad service? It’s probably because they’re run by women who are better off spending money rather than making it. #AmIRight? Book a vacation with us today at hyhohotels.com. And what’s with people who criticize others and stealing other peoples’ shoes?”

Audience: “Booooooooooo! Get off the stage!

Image

Advertisements