John Oliver Trashes Brands for Hijacking Twitter Conversations

Last week, #WhyIStayed began trending on Twitter in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal. It was a powerful global conversation, with many people sharing personal information about why they stayed in undesirable relationships.

And then DiGiorno got involved.

Digiorno’s social media manager quickly apologized for the tweet, noting he hadn’t bothered to check what the hashtag stood for. It was a terrible and careless mistake by a company that’s usually one of the sharpest and funniest brands on the platform. But Oliver used it to illustrate a larger point: For brands, there’s not a ton of upside to participating in broader Twitter conversations, since it often comes across as disingenuous.

“Here’s the problem: Twitter conversations and corporations don’t mix,” Oliver said, noting a 9/11 remembrance tweet from sex-toy-maker Fleshlight. “You want that cylinder to remain respectfully silent.”

Oliver listed a slew of other instances of poor judgment: Pop Chips calling Martin Luther King an “eternal poptimist”; SpaghettiOs hijacking the American flag; Entenmann’s getting in on the trending #NotGuilty hashtag after the Casey Anthony verdict.

“Look, brands, your silence is never going to be controversial,” Oliver said. “No one will ever go, ‘I can’t believe it, Skittles didn’t tweet about 9/11 yesterday. They must support terrorism. I’m never eating them again.'”

The clip isn’t yet embeddable, but you can watch it here.

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