The 2018 Branded Twitter Awards
Ah, Twitter. A hub for media professionals, meme creators, and brands with all kinds of clever, irreverent, informational, and poignant personas. From existential rants to sass to actual nonsense tweeted for two hours straight, 2018 may be the year that goes down in history as harboring some of the strangest, most unique, and most entertaining tweets of all time.
In case you missed any, we decided to round them up, superlative-style, in this year’s Branded Tweet Awards.
The Most Incoherent Tweet From a Fast Food Chain
This year, Netflix posted an hour-long video of Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger on IGTV, Amazon spammed teens on Snapchat with ads for Prime, and Taco Bell corrected White Castle’s grammar on Twitter. You’d think nothing could surprise us on social media anymore.
Color me surprised, however, when Burger King tweeted a slew of nonsense characters for hours on end in December. There’s speculation that this was a marketing stunt to promote the Dogper, a new flame-grilled dog treat (a totally real product, by the way) by pretending a dog was tweeting on the account. Whatever was happening, it was totally strange, oddly hilarious, and a little bit concerning. Burger King, are you okay? Can we help?
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) November 28, 2018
The Best Original Meme
Earlier this year, Seamless posted this clever and self-aware meme that we thought deserved a round of applause all around. It’s simple, funny, and probably true, making it a wonderfully effective piece of branded social copy.
It's settled then. pic.twitter.com/03auBKu2o8
— Seamless (@Seamless) June 14, 2018
The Most Existential Tweet
If there ever was a branded tweet to define a year, an era, a generation, it’s a tweet by Steak-Umm that went viral just a few months ago. I spoke to Nathan Allebach, Steak-Umm’s social media manager, about it because I was so intrigued by his decision to use a branded account for state-of-the-world musings.
As he explained, “We saw an opportunity in a weird way to insert our brand to just be an oasis away from a lot of that and add some hope and some positivity.” If we see more of these poignant muses from brands in the future—and thanks to the success and impact of this one, I think we will—we have Steak-Umm to thank for this movement.
why are so many young people flocking to brands on social media for love, guidance, and attention? I'll tell you why. they're isolated from real communities, working service jobs they hate while barely making ends meat, and are living w/ unchecked personal/mental health problems
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) September 26, 2018
The Tweet Most in Tune With its Audience
Netflix’s social media presence is all-around iconic. The company speaks directly to their shows’ fans using one of the most relatable cadences I’ve seen from a brand online.
They use first-person pronouns, capitalize on the latest slang, and are no stranger to jumping on meme trends. If you’ve ever felt guilty for binge days or your celebrity crushes, Netflix wants you to know that their team is just like you. There are some pretty funny fan theories about the mysterious TV guru behind the account, my personal favorite claiming that it’s fan favorite Cole Sprouse himself.
One of the best examples of Netflix tuning into pop and internet culture at just the right time is their contribution to the “one taught me love, one taught me patience, one taught me pain” meme trend born out of the lyrics of Ariana Grande’s latest single, “thank u, next.” Netflix is constantly tapping into its audience’s feelings, and their self-referential content promotes their shows by making fun of them and adding to their users’ conversations without ever sounding too self-promotional. It’s pretty brilliant, and their large following and rate of engagement proves that it works.
one taught me love, one taught me patience, one taught me pain pic.twitter.com/6q9M99cTku
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 5, 2018
The Tweet That Sparked the Best Fan Debate
MLB has an excellent Twitter account, full of video clips, stats, and news from games and trades baseball fans might have missed. The account often posts graphics and polls asking fans which trade they’d make or which player they hope gets traded onto their team. The graphics are well-made and consistent, and the posts are informative while simultaneously involving followers, almost like playing a mobile game. Earlier this fall, MLB especially grabbed our attention by proposing a hypothetical trade that their audience ate up. Whether followers approved of the trade or not, they certainly chimed in with something to say about it.
Hypothetically, would you accept this trade? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/QF35aXMQYA
— MLB (@MLB) November 29, 2018
The Most Meta Tweet
A few months ago, Twitter itself began tweeting shorter, more cryptic and open-ended tweets designed, presumably, to grab our attention. It worked. Examples include tweets that said only “The,” “!?” and “👀”. Twitter’s followers (including me) jumped on the opportunity to question, offer advice, and poke fun of the brand.
My personal favorite and the clear winner of the most meta tweet of 2018 was when the account sent “Tweet, tweet” into the Twitterverse.
While Twitter’s content can sometimes be described as strange, it’s nowhere near as bizarre as some of our other examples (again, Burger King, do you need me to recommend someone to talk to?), but it’s pretty mysterious. Regardless of how you view it, the internet loves a good meta moment, and plenty of Twitter’s followers momentarily lost their minds over this one.
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 19, 2018
The Sassiest Clap-Back
Ever since Amy Brown redesigned Wendy’s Twitter strategy, we’ve gotten very used to brands, especially fast food chains and food products, serving us a fair amount of irreverence, sass, humor, and wit on Twitter. The best yet was when Wendy’s (no longer run by Brown) had some strong opinions to dish out about IHOP’s momentary rebranding (another very strange thing to happen to brands in 2018). Always quick to the draw, we’re sure to see more comebacks of this caliber from the brand in the future.
Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
2018 was a beautiful year for brand tweets, and there are plenty of others that we weren’t able to feature but appreciate fully. If we missed a brand tweet that influenced you this year, let us know by tweeting at us, of course. We can’t wait to see what the world of branded tweets has for us next year.