Charlie Brooker’s weekly Screenburn in Saturday’s Guardian TV pages is usually an extremely amusing read. An article published earlier this month this was titled "loser generated content", and it got me thinking about the ways in which firms use social media as an advertising tool.
T-Mobile's latest advertising campaign features Josh and his superband, who have come about 'completely by accident' after he was stopped in the street and filmed for an advert in which he said he would start a band if he had free texts for life.
Josh now has a Myspace page, can be followed on Twitter and has a website where you can upload pieces of music you have created in the hope that they will be incorporated into the upcoming single that he is going to release (whilst giving up all rights to any future profit to Saatchi & Saatchi).
So we have a television advertising campaign, supported with relevant social media, but there appears to be a backlash against the campaign. From the feedback I have received, all it is doing is actively putting people off T-Mobile products, so the question is what's gone wrong?
Don’t Break the Social Media Rules!
We blog a lot about social media here at I-COM; a post about the rules of social media by Keir Gibson gives a good explanation of how to go about running a social media campaign, in which he stresses the need to be upfront, honest, participatory and genuine, otherwise your fellow users will see through you instantly.
Josh and his superband are a perfect example of what happens when you try to 'game' social media. One word runs through all the complaints – contrived.
T-Mobile has made a mistake and tried to SELL SOCIAL MEDIA to a group of people who have are extremely social media savvy and have seen right through it – musicians. This has resulted in an internet backlash with hate groups being formed on Facebook and numerous anti-Josh Ward comments spattering the web.
Next time T-Mobile, I suggest you sponsor some concerts, or openly promote a competition to write the next T-Mobile ringtone. People could upload them to your site, you could have a Myspace page with all the entries, a Twitter account could be set up that people could follow the progress of the competition. People may not like ringtones, but they prefer them to being treated like a fool!