Hashtags have begun to dominate almost every social network worth its conversations. Hashtags help group, shape or define social discussions as they occur in real time. A regular phenomenon on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus, the hashtag has now been adopted by Facebook too. The hashtag has evolved to be now used in creative ways by brands.
Over the later part of last year, we have seen a rising trend in naming brand campaigns using hashtags. It helps in steering brand conversations on social media as well as lending an easier brand recall or a campaign association. The first digital film by a youth fashion brand also employs hashtags.
People, the youth fashion brand from the house of Madura Fashion and Lifestyle India, has launched its spring-summer collection with #StartTrending, a campaign inspired by social media. The press release by the company states that the campaign explores the close relationship between fashion and social media, urging the youth to trend online as well as offline.
#StartTrending borrows key elements from social networks to play with the online lifestyle of today’s digitally savvy youth. I liked the idea and quickly got on to watch the new ad.
It features youngsters dressing up to go viral on social media. They are sharing sefies on Instagram, getting their likes on Facebook and constantly on the go with their social connections. The idea though a cool one, looks like it borrowed from ecommerce brand Myntra’s Live for Likes campaign released this May.
The voice over at the end tells the viewer to “Dress to go viral. #StartTrending with People”.
I liked the pitch, and went on to Twitter to look for #StartTrending tweets. I found the ones sharing the press releases but none by the brand. I wondered if it was even present on Twitter!
The Facebook page with more than 135K fans, has just put up a post with the hashtag and items from the new collection.
What’s wrong here?
The concept is a cool one for a youth clothing brand. It captures the social savvy impulsive behaviour of the youth today, and also extends the message onto social with the hashtag #StartTrending. But, the most vital aspect of trending has not been taken care of. The brand that is trying to get people talking with #StartTrending isn’t even active on Twitter. How does one then associate People with the new hashtag campaign or its new collection?
There is Facebook but Twitter is still the medium with the quickest viral reach and visibility on social media. People has lost out on an opportunity to create and build the brand voice on Twitter. Being active on Twitter would have helped leverage the campaign for People and established a sound social presence for the brand that was launched in 2008.
People should have released the ad when its Twitter account is more stable, or else it should not have used a hashtag at all! Do share your views on this.