Trident Layers – An Ad Gone Bad

trident layersTrident Layers made the move: Integrating traditional advertising with social media marketing. Beautiful! A full page ad in USA Today with tweets from “real” people from Twitter. Brilliant! I am a big supporter of this integration as I strongly believe that this is the way that traditional advertising needs to and will go. It has to almost to, to continue to be a viable source of advertising. Bring people offline to online and have them be a part of your online community. It was the buzz – a big brand bringing social media to the newspaper, but it died faster than a worm on the streets of Vegas in the dead of summer. Why? What happened? Why is this not the model of integration?  The traditional advertising side was ready as the ad was inviting, easy to read and very well done but the social media side was not. It was a disaster.

An Ad Gone Bad:

1. Ad Date. December 18, 2009.

2. First Tweet. November 11, 2009.

3. Twitter Account. They had under 200 followers. It is not about the followers but … they pulled tweets from people before they even had a twitter account. There was some advertising prior to the ad running and the twitter account being created so maybe the few mentions may have sparked the creativity for the ad???

4. Quality of Tweets.  Albeit we cannot control what people tweet before or after what they tweet about a brand but many of the tweets before the twitter account and any advertising were contained with hard core profanity. I am not an advocate against profanity in any way nor am I someone who sends praise to those who spout an F-bomb to be cool but when it comes to my brand/company image … yeah no place for it. Period.

5. Source of Tweets. This is where it got very interesting. Many of the people who were used in the ad, their tweets were not directly from Twitter.  A feed to twitter from other sources but not from our beloved Twitter (not even Tweetdeck or Seesmic).

6. Reality of Tweets. Some, not all, of the tweets are partials of the tweet. The ad does not have quotation marks around the tweets to make them an exact quote however we are led to believe that these are exact quotes, especially those who are heavy users of Twitter.  Credibility is a factor here.

7. Content of Tweets. The same over and over by @tridentlayers. There is no interaction, no engaging of people in what would be recognized as a conversation. Talk people to humanize the brand. Thank you’s is not talking and having a conversation. Thank you is very important but with no interaction back it becomes one-way.

I am sure there are more things to point out as it relates to the Twitter accounts of those named in the ad, many which may be positive. We cannot control the tweets of those that mention our brand but we can monitor them to see if they represent our brand. I do applauded them for their efforts and this could have been “it” for ending 2009 and being a leader going into 2010. Instead it was a major failure. We have to wonder if the person behind the Twitter was an intern or someone that was inexperienced with Twitter. The execution and engaging with people  on Twitter was so bad that it is an embarrassment.

While I still think the idea and the ad were a winner, the Twitter integration overshadows it.  As a small business, it is something to learn from. It is not about the money a big brand may have to put into social media, it is about the effort and the presence.

Thoughts?  Was this a disaster? How could this have been better?

photo credit: Mashable

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