Twitter, Wendy's Both Breaking News

The headline above is a mere 35 characters. Meaning what? You got it. Meaning that it doesn’t take much to entice us to learn more about something that catches our fancy. Not only that, but I have 105 more characters at my disposal to get really verbose if I want to tweet the information. Amazing how this app, which makes headline writers of us all, has so quickly changed the way we think about things.

The winner of Twitter's Golden Tweet Award for the most retweeted tweet of the year is Wendy’s, we learned yesterday. Its Father’s Day message -- "RT for a good cause. Each Retweet sends 50¢ to help kids in foster care #TreatItFwd” -- reportedly raised more than $50,000 for foster children, a pet cause of its late founder, Dave Thomas.

“In a year when the entertainment world gave consumers and media pundits plenty to tweet about, including Charlie Sheen’s eyebrow-raising antics and Ashton Kutcher’s fumble over the Penn State scandal, it was an advertisement from the burger chain that was the most retweeted tweet of the year,” blogs the Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica.

Hard-boiled marketer that you are, you might be tempted to ask if the feel-good campaign actually resulted in more than enhancing Wendy’s goodwill. CNBC technology contributor Natali Morris wonders the same thing. “Subliminal advertising does seem rather powerful to me and I find myself wanting a cheeseburger as I click through to Wendy's Twitter page but I am four months pregnant so I might not count,” she blogs.



Well, Todd Wasserman reported on Mashable on Nov. 15, a stealth campaign for a new mid-size burger Wendy’s call the W added 33,000 Twitter followers in about a month with minimal ad support --  “a feat that many brands haven’t been able to match over several years’ time.”

The campaign involves a “140-character game show” on Twitter with the handle @GirlBehindSix. Wendy’s and agency Kaplan Thaler Group “believe they have built up enough buzz for the W to set the stage for a TV campaign later this month,” Wasserman reports. “The goal was to surprise and delight and give [consumers] a picture of Wendy’s they hadn’t seen before,” Danny Flamberg, managing director of strategy and CRM for the Kaplan Thaler, tells Wasserman.

Maybe its not a coincidence that Wendy's is poised to overtake Burger King as the No. 1 burger purveyor, as Marketing Daily's Karlene Lukovitz reported.

Twitter itself, meanwhile, has rolled out a new design on its smartphone and tablet apps that, in the words of TG Daily’s Emma Woollacott, is “aimed at making it faster, easier to navigate -- and more attractive to advertisers.” The changes also will be apparent on the Web in coming weeks –- hopefully before your holiday dinner with Aunt Edna, who is sure to ask about “all that twittle and twaddle I’m hearing about.”

The changes “address a paradox about a service that revolves around messages limited to just 140 characters. As simple as it sounds, the concept remains too confusing and frustrating for a lot of people,” writes the AP’s Michael Liedtke.

A piece in Ad Age, by Cotton Delo, reveals that only 21 marketers currently have access to Twitter’s new brand pages -- including Intel, General Electric, Disney and Paramount -- “but those in the mix are conceptualizing new content strategies to take advantage of the platform.

“"[Twitter] is starting to take tentative but very interesting steps into being more of a destination instead of just a conversation platform," says Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages, which is also among the chosen.

“Brand pages have two key elements, both of them free,” Delo writes in another story. “They can be customized with large header images that advertisers can use to display their logo and tagline more prominently than under the standard format…. Brands can also choose to keep a particular tweet at the top of their time line, and that top tweet also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Flickr, YouTube or other sources…. Additionally, they separate out a brand's @ replies and mentions …”

On a final note, Twitter had a big role in keeping people informed about the lock-down situation when two people were shot dead yesterday on the Virginia Tech campus. After The Collegiate Times website crashed and the staff was moved to a secured area, its reporters continued to send updates on the situation through its @collegiatetimes Twitter account.

“Within a few hours, the paper’s Twitter following grew by more than 18,000 -- to more than 20,000 from 2,000 just before the news broke,” blog Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter in the New York Times. “The growth shows just how Twitter can amplify a single message, or a single account, even if that account is a college newspaper without a local following.”

No, Twitter’s not the sledgehammer of television advertising in the glory days. But we’re clearly going to see it pounding home more commercial messages as it becomes ever more mainstream in consumers’ lives.

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