While teenagers make the decision whether or not a company is cool, advertisers will go to long lengths to be approved by our generation. Being the most social and on-line generation in history, advertisers take to Twitter to communicate their company to us. But do these efforts make the company more or less appealing? Some of the “hip” language these advertisers use make us want to cringe when we read them. This tactic can be almost as successful as your parents trying to communicate with you by keeping up with the Kardashians. Call this advertising method the mom jeans of Twitter.
When a company sends out a tweet about a popular topic or a trending hashtag, it usually does more harm for a company than good. DiGiorno Pizza Company suffered a lot of complaints in September after they mindlessly sent out a tweet that contained a hashtag that was trending. #WhyIStayed was a hashtag that contained tweets from victims of domestic violence explaining why they had stayed in their abusive relationship. Before researching what the hashtag was about, DiGiorno tweeted, “#WhyIStayed You had Pizza.” Unfortunately for DiGiorno their attempt of being witty and cool resulting in them being ridiculed for their carelessness. DiGiorno realized their mistake and issued an apology, but the damage had already been done.
Hashtags and trending topics are not the only way companies try to communicate to teens though. Companies attempt to use internet slang to present information to their users. In September, Denny’s wanted to communicate to their audience that their food was delicious, and more people should go there. Instead of saying, ‘Denny’s hash browns are really good,’ Denny’s used the trendy word play of, “Hashbrowns on Fleek.” If this example does not make you cringe, try to imagine Denny’s Tweeting, “These hash browns are groovy.” This language that companies assume we use, although some parts are true, tend to make us feel mortified.
You may see these Tweets, and many others, and think to yourself, “Why do I care? This is just a company trying to communicate with me.” Although it may seem like these companies are just a little geeky, they believe that the only way they can communicate with teens is to make a dumb joke that they hope will catch our attention. This method seems degrading, almost as if we would not be able to understand a company without them “speaking our language.”
Tweets from major companies are not always entertaining, and they are usually read and then followed by an eye roll. When companies attempt to insert themselves into popular topics, it is mostly frowned upon by viewers who see the company as trying too hard. Denny’s was very fortunate that their hash brown Tweet was successful, because these companies are not usually seen as “fleek” but as more of a geek.