Daily Archives: July 1, 2010

THE TABITHA SITUATION

We at The Escape Pod couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction to our new Wheat Thins campaign.

I’m a 7K plus twitter veteran. I love twitter. Not every does. Not everyone gets it. I have also been blogging for years now. I love social media. To me it’s fun and stimulating. I am one of those millions of busy online worker bees who just can’t shut the f**k up. I help spread the online pollen, if I may ;-)

So the idea of combining video and twitter in a fun way had huge appeal for me personally.

I have also done more than my share of prank videos. I love doing that too. It’s fun and yields great undeniably real reactions and energy you just can’t get from contrived (ie, regular) commercials.

Every time we have done prank video there is ALWAYS a certain segment that is understandably leery and suspicious. They think that what we shot COULDN’T be real. And that it’s fake. Fair enough. I can understand that. Advertising’s biggest problem, in my estimation, is that it’s usually just irrelevant bullshit. So everything we do is viewed with a certain amount of suspicion. Even when it’s real.

This time round the online detectives have been quick to point out that one of our tweeters, Tabitha, only had one tweet on her twitter page. And that was her pro-Wheat Thins tweet. I know what they mean. I’d be suspicious too. But I can explain.

This is how we tracked down these people. Initially we hired a team of researchers to comb twitter every day for the most promising sounding pro Wheat Thins tweets all over the country. We wanted the mentions to be comparatively recent (may/april) so that people could check them out online and verify them for themselves. Because i knew they would!

As we got close to production of these budget realities dictated that we limit ourselves to tweets in the LA area so we could shoot more films. Which cut down our pool of candidates. The researchers then suggested expanding our search to include Facebook mentions too. But I wanted to keep it to Twitter to keep it focused.

So we did. Or we thought we did.

When we were near finishing the edits on these videos I searched all their Twitter accounts and nearly had a heart attack when I searched Tabitha’s twitter home page and found it empty! WTF!!!! I went ballistic. What the hell happened???

We then found out that Tabitha was a facebook mention that had gotten confused as a tweet by the researcher and slipped through.

Now to those of us involved in the production who WEREN’T social media nuts this wasn’t viewed as a big deal. But it was to me. Oh yes! I recall shouting loudly and uttering expletives. And I just knew someone like me would stumble upon this and blog about it. Just as I would. And sure enough they have.

Hence Tabitha’s sole tweet on her Twitter account. When we knocked on her door we actually asked her if she had “tweeted” the statement she had in fact posted on Facebook. You’ll notice she doesn’t disagree. She did say it. Just not on Twitter.

And in a related matter, our air guitar hero Dan REMOVED his tweet (on the advice of his agent perhaps?) precipitating yet another heart attack in my part. He put it back but if you look at the date it was last week. (UPDATE: NO HE DIDN’T. SORRY DAN/BJORN!) This also nearly broke my heart. After all our efforts, and doing this is not easy, people would think these were staged. And they weren’t. I can’t imagine staging something like this. For the simple reasons that it would be no fun and you simply can’t fake honest surprised reactions. Unless you have de Niro in your fake prank.

People talk endlessly about the need for transparency online. Well, there you have it folks. The whole story.

We did something new here. And it was largely out of our control. There will be glitches along the way. I will have a few heart attacks. But what’s new?

I hope this clears this up to everyone’s satisfaction. And thanks for all the online mentions and tweets.

Keep an eye out for that yellow van! You could be next.