#Bendgate: who did it well

A commentary on the #bendgate scandal.

Last week’s post discussed hashtag hijacking and demonstrated how poorly it can go. This week I would like to cover how hashtag hijacking can go well. While, generally speaking hashtag hijacking can be in poor taste and an overall poor decision, with proper research and timely responses the effect can be very successful.

Does the hashtag #bendgate ring a bell? If not, allow me to fill you in.

Shortly after a successful launch of the iPhone 6, users found a fatal design flaw: it bends. Hence, #bendgate was born. A strewn of tweets and videos appeared on the Internet to test it, complain about it, make jokes about it and so on. Users shouted out to the company as consumers, competitors, in addition to companies simply looking to get in on the fun.

The hashtag created a number of user attempts to have a laugh at Apple’s expense. Some tried and failed, while others tried and triumphed. Who made a splash amongst all the noise? I’ve chosen the examples that the Internet widely accepted as “best in show,” amongst the rest.

Voted as number of by the people of the World Wide Web: Kit Kat. Kit Kat’s well-established slogan, “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar,” was taken to a new level. In a move which some say, surpassed Oreo’s real-time marketing success, Kit Kat posted the following tweet.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.06.31 PM

Another contender was Heineken, which offered empathy to Apple. Heineken took the, “It happens to the best of us,” approach by using its most common bend, the bottle cap.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.07.06 PM

Samsung, an apple competitor, was glad to hear Apple was bending. Samsung made sure to instruct Apple as to how it is meant to bend. What was Samsung’s clever response? Bend down to the worthy Galaxy Note 3.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.35.36 PM

A personal favorite was Amnesty International’s approach to #bendgate. Amnesty International turned to support a cause rather than promote a product (although I suppose its product is its cause). In, perhaps, the strongest image to appear on Twitter during #bendgate Amnesty International posted the following photo:

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.08.01 PM

Each example chosen for this post maintained a few key elements:

  • Humor or clever messaging
  • A desire to promote its brand
  • Timelines

Without each of these elements the posts would not have maintained the same level of success and may have landed amongst the others in failure or lack of attention.

Hashtag hijacking can be a dangerous game on social media. Without the proper research, a strong message, an objective and a timely approach, it is easily a game lost. The mentioned brands took the time to include each of these guidelines in the hijacking approach, and the Internet applauded each effort accordingly.

As a special bonus I’ve added, what I consider to be, the funniest #bendgate image to come from the explosion of media. The tribute to Salvador Dali was by far the best #bendgate message to appear.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.48.18 PM


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