[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Blowback: Cracking Trends with Copy Transmission

Each month, brand agency Copy Transmission takes aim at the trends and stories that have cracked social media. For October, it’s…

Blowback: the fool, the force, the fire and the flan

People often talk about the risks of social media, but many pros know how a negative can be turned into a positive.

When the shit hits the fan, some of it is bound to blow back at the monkeys. October 2016 has given us some pearler examples.

Trump’s humps

Early in October, 2005 footage leaked of Donald Trump talking about women. Tic Tac—a company that tweets infrequently—earned 57,000 retweets and 91,000 likes for one very simple message:

No jokes. Just an appeal to sense and respect. And it won.

Trump’s approval tumbled. Yet, even as the man’s chances of winning the top job dwindled, his brand still dominated the social sphere. As revealed in last month's column, the Trump brand flourishes not because of good management, but because it is shareable content.

Over October, Trump’s twitter following surged to 12.8M (up from 11.9M). Meanwhile, his Facebook Page is up to 11.85M (up from 10.9M). Those numbers could launch a new news network.

Dark side of the online force

The NSW Police Force has 668,000 Facebook followers. On October 5, they posted this.

It was originally captioned:

Keeping you safe from the dark side of the force.

Firstly, the post is by the NSW Police Force. It’s caption explicitly calls attention to the fact that the force has a dark side.

But such details were not the main issue for Star Wars fans.

Others simply shook their heads…

Yes, the cop appears to be on the side of the evil Stormtroopers—a less than desirable association.

And there’s also the matter of the Jawa he is cuffing. Facebookers struck back with more detailed observations about the connotations:

The potentially racial reading of the image was summed up topically and succinctly by Lih Chong:

The NSW Police Force responded to the hullaballoo by changing the caption. It presently reads:

Keeping NSW & the galaxy safe. This little guy was arrested for selling stolen goods.

This rewrite ditches the reference to the force’s dark side. It also connects the image to the actual narrative of the pop-cultural icon it references. Both good.

Still, it fails to dissociate them from a tyrannical regime. And there’s still the implication that they target indigenous minorities.

Is 50% a pass?

Heat on Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was officially released on August 19. The verified Samsung Mobile twitter account tweeted 124 times that month.

Reports soon surfaced of Notes overheating and even bursting into flames. By September 2, Samsung announced a voluntarily recall. They did what seemed sensible: they replaced the original batch with a new lot. Unfortunately, the replacements were also predisposed towards heat and combustion. By October 11, the second lot was off the shelves too.

In the eight weeks after the first recall, @SamsungMobile only tweeted once:

While Samsung was off the social grid, the silence was filled with memes.

Still, Samsung’s strategy of disengagement may have worked. It’s reported  that 90% of people trading in their faulty phones have chosen alternative Samsung models as their replacement. For a situation with many downsides, that’s a pretty big up.

Pancakes amid the waffle

Pancake mix makers Bisquick tried to capitalise on the presidential debate hype by initiating the American Breakfast Debate 2016:

Presumably, they were trying to inject levity to win-over disenfranchised consumers with cartoonish charm. But maybe Bisquick misjudged the market.

@flyswatter responded quickly:

Others questioned the rationale and execution:

Some got the parallel, but maybe not the point:

@TrumpReady replied with a particularly unappetizing image. That pic is now permanently a part of the Bisquick conversation.

Broad sentiment was epitomised by @North_Northwest:

The pancake mixers got noticed, but unlike Trump they couldn’t convert controversy into a cult. They still have just over 1,500 followers. Trump literally got that many before breakfast.


Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based brand agency.

Neither Brett Hamm nor David Ling plan on voting for pancakes.

www.copytransmission.com :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear

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