Tag Archives: twitter

The great thing about social media is that is let’s you meet your brand’s fans. The bad thing about social media is that it can you end up talking only to your fans.

One of the great things about social media is that it let’s you meet your brand’s fans.

The ones who think your brand is just awesome!

So much so that it may occupy a disproportionate amount of their brainspace.

We all have brands that we simply looove. I, for example, am a superfan of Kerrygold butter. I haven’t yet liked them on Facebook but I would. It’s just amazing that butter. No, really. I mean, just look at it.


And it’s very tempting to spend all your time talking people who you KNOW love you. Of course it is. We’re only human.

The danger is that we will fixate on this geyser of adoration and affirmation and forget that our real task is to convert the non-avid lovers. The ones who currently don’t really give a fig.

And I fear this is one of the attractions of social media to marketers.

Not to blow our horns (cue: blowing of own horns!) but looking back on it, I think this idea we did for Wheat Thins a few years back was a good demonstration of how you can amplify your existing fanbase’s love to reach the non-avid user and so create new love.

(Blowing of horns, geysers of adoration, creating new love. Dr. Freud to reception!)

You can see the video here.


This was nice

On Monday night one of our new spots for Wheat Thins aired during the People’s Choice Awards on CBS. And minutes later, Wheat Thins was a trending topic on Twitter.

We’d kind of hoped for something like this to happen so it was extremely gratifying that it actually came to pass.

Social media can be a lot of fun.

Cheers to all involved in this very exciting campaign.

Have a great weekend.


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.

Our new work for Wheat Thins

We very recently shot and edited this campaign for client Wheat Thins. In case you’re from foreign as they used to say in England, Wheat Thins are an American snack that is universally loved here in the USA. As the name suggests, it’s a wholesome wheat-based unit of yum.

Wheat Thins’ problem is, if anything, over-familiarity. The reverse of the awareness problem. It’s available everywhere and it’s been around forever. But there is a lot of love for the brand. How do we know this? Because we found it flowing like a torrent on Twitter. While coming up with ideas for Wheat Thins we had the idea of searching Twitter to see what, if anything the Twits were saying about Wheat Thins. We were stunned to find hundreds of unprovoked declarations of undying love for the brand. Some were just slavish “I love Wheat Thins so much i would die for them” . Some were more witty. Some were just odd.

As anyone who tweets regularly knows, the one thing you DON’T expect is for your random tossed-off utterances to have any consequences. That’s the ONE THING you can be certain of. Until now that is!

We selected a random selection of pro-Wheat Thins tweets and slyly tracked down the Tweeters. We then arrived in a van, A TEAM style, and confronted them with their tweets. We thanked them and gave them a gift based on their particular tweet and left basically. Leaving stunned tweeters in our wake. As you can imagine it was enormous fun to shoot. And in case you’re wondering, we usually had the assistance of a facebook friend or otherwise contacted family member to help us set up our marks. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to set up people for pranks. Don’t trust your loved ones!

Among our victims we had a Mom (and wife of a Navy Seal), an air guitar champion (i know, he sounds casted. he wasn’t), a dude in a coffee shop (set up by him mom. hi Beverly!) and a trainee nurse. it was completely random. And no it wasn’t faked. These were actual tweets. That’s what made the whole thing fun: the element of the unknown. The uncontrollable.

We hope you like them as much as we do. Kudos to fearless Wheat Thins clients Jim Low and Beth McMorrow who toughed it out with us in the white video bus that didn’t really have a whole lot of video to be honest. But great A/C! Thank you driver Gary!


and Tim



Managing Director: Norm Bilow
Creative Director: Vinny Warren
Creatives: Allan Stevenson/Jimmy Olson
Exec. Producer Kent Kwiatt

Production Co: SMUGGLER
Exec. Producer: Brian Carmody
Director: Renny Maslow
Producer: Shelby Ross

Editorial: Whitehouse Chicago
Editor: Matt Walsh
Asst. Editor: Matt Jameson

Sound: LIME L.A./Sam Casas

Color: New Hat/Bob Fresca

Follow this guy

I recently found out that this guy is on twitter. I know him. His name is Dominic McSorley. He’s an aid worker. He works for Concern, an Irish famine relief organization whose mission is “to help the poorest of the poor” . they really live up to this by the way. They’re in Haiti right now. What they do is go into disaster areas and ask the question “who are suffering most? Who are the least likely to get help?”. And help those people. It’s a great idea for an aid organization.

Dominic had a great story that illustrated this principle. He was in Rwanda after the Hutu/Tutsi genocide in the 90s. Following the Concern guiding principle, he went in and found that those accused of genocide were stuffed into overcrowded prisons and had to rely solely on relatives to bring them food. Consequently the prisons were surrounded by squalid shanty towns filled with the relatives of the imprisoned. This was the community they chose to help. Part of Dominic’s job is flying in before everyone else and assessing the situation. So he ended up in the basement of one of these prisons. Alone with a clipboard and a single prison guard. With hundreds of quite possibly murderous eyes upon him. Lots of tension. Oh, and there’s just a single light bulb to light the whole the basement of the prison. And right when he’s starting to feel a little uneasy, and Dominic is unflappable, the fucking light bulb blows!

I know this because I spent two weeks traveling around Ethiopia with Dominic and a New York-based London- Jewish fashion photographer. It was the basis for a great but dark sitcom.

Dominic is originally from Belfast. He studied law and was about to launch into a very lucrative career in law when he volunteered for Concern in the 70s and got sucked into the whole helping-your-fellow-man racket.

The three of us were documenting Concern’s work to help raise funds in the USA. When I tell people I spent two weeks in Ethiopia working for a famine relief organization, I get this admiring look from people. And because I am a shallow and worthless advertising parasite, I don’t get THAT look too often. So I lap it up. But the truth is we had a blast in Ethiopia. Dominic was a great host. Ethiopia is a huge country (5 times the size of texas) and isn’t at all like the media image. It’s a lush and fertile country. I actually heard stories of TV news crews purposely filming starving kids on rocky/sandy spots so it would conform to the “desert” image that conveyed misery and lack of food. When just out of frame was lush greenery.

There had just been a famine in Ethiopia when we arrived. And all the starving people had either been rescued or died at that point. So there weren’t too many of the stereotypical starving famine kids around. They had either died or gotten nutrition. Being a shameless ad guy I thought it would be a good idea to find a child whose physical state communicated the plight of the people. Not very original but I felt a desperate need to add value in some way. But it proved remarkably difficult to find such a child. They had all died or gotten food.

Then we found him. His name was Bedelu Goshin. He had survived both starvation and Tuberculosis. His life was saved by Concern. I was standing next to him. I’m sure he viewed us as we would aliens from another planet. The fashion guy from new york and the ad guy from Chicago, excited that we were finally getting the money shot. Bedelu was in bad shape.

Dominic subsequently led us around the slums of Addis Ababa, where we met students from schools funded by Concern, visited a skills learning center for former prostitutes, and finally to visit a 24 year old woman dying from AIDS she’d contracted from her cheating husband. She left four young sons to be taken care of by their grandmother, who was in her 40s. I remember shooting video in their tiny smoky cabin as she struggled to tell her story as she lay in bed dying. Her poor little sons standing obediently next to me. Their already hard lives about to be made immeasurably harder in just a few months when their mother died. I did the thing you’re never supposed to do as we left. I slipped the grandmother money. It was a truly tragic scene.

But this was a walk in the park for Dominic. He had seen much worse. He’d been in Cambodia in the 80s. Then on to Ethiopia. And El Salvador for the earthquake. North Korea. Back to Ethiopia. Burundi. Afghanistan. If it was awful, Dominic McSorley was there. It was hard not to draw comparisons between his life and mine. He: literally doing God’s work. Me: poisoning the culture with consumeristic stupidity.

And now Dominic is in Haiti. And was probably there the day after the earthquake. And now he’s on twitter. @aidwkr is his twitter name. Twitter is clearly his medium. He’s from Belfast so he’s funny. And acutely observant. it’s a glimpse into an amazing life. Follow him.

Oh, did I mention that Dominic just got an OBE from the Queen of England? He did.

Balloon Boy, Twitter, and the Online News Eclipse

i am a big fan and user of twitter. for a creative person it’s great mental chewing gum and generally keeps your pulse active. and, increasingly it’s serving as a news service, albeit an unfiltered and not always reliable one.

So when the Balloon Boy story hit twitter i was on it. Of course I was completely 100% suckered and totally believed that there was a six year old boy floating above Colorado. I had no reason to believe otherwise. I have an eight year old son myself and could readily imagine how such a thing might happen.

The Ballloon Boy story was the perfect example of an ONLINE NEWS ECLIPSE. I just coined that term btw, so all royalties this way please. An online news eclipse is what happens when a story like Balloon Boy (great human interest, bizarre, happening “live”) instantly monpolizes the attention of everyone , blotting out (or eclipsing!) all the traditional news outlets. It was an instant viral hit literally within minutes of first being reported. How we feel about the story can overwhelm what’s actually happening. Or not happening in this case. I was freaking out at the thought of a little six year old in almost certain mortal terror. As was any parent.

Turns out the whole thing was a fake. There was no balloon boy. Just another wannabe who wanted to get his face on TV at any cost. Well he got his wish. Thought not in the way he wanted. 15 years ago this would have been a blip on the news at ten. Now it can dominate our attention for hours. LIVE!

I get the feeling we are going to see a lot more of this. It’s inevitable. We’re all so connected and inter-connected on such a granular level that we no longer have time to think. We just react.

The whole episode reminded me of a quote about the future of media i saw years ago that had a huge influence on me professionally. It went something like…IN THE FUTURE PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER THINK AND READ. THEY WILL MERELY WATCH AND FEEL.

Kind of feels like we’re at that point. And I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Or, most probably, a good thing and a bad thing.

The extent to which using twitter has influenced my purchasing behavior so far

I bought the dvd pictured below because i follow this guy. he’s an Irish comedy writer and twitter pioneer. his name is graham linehan. he is very funny and the tv show is a winner. it’s in season 3 in the UK but thus far only season 1 is available in this region of the world.

and can i just say how moronic it is that there are different “regions” for dvds? to prevent piracy i guess. well let me just say that the only thing it has ever prevented me from doing is legally purchasing dvds and instead forces to watch things online for free that i would happily have paid for.


wefollow.com. Now twitter makes sense!

Clearly different people use twitter in different ways. As it should be. I can only speak from my own experience of it. As with all social media there is an element of micro-celebrity built into it. E.g. “You only have 187 friends/followers, I have 1,087!” etc. And it also makes sense that those who work the medium hardest have the most “success”. We are human. We will always want to rub others’ noses in it. That’s how God made us.

My experience of Twitter went something like this.

1. I don’t want to be on twitter. it’s a load of old narcissistic wank.
2. It may well be a load of old narcissistic wank. but how can you know for sure if you don’t try it?
3. Im on it. It’s not exciting, but hey Stephen Fry is on it! And the creator of Father Ted! And Steve Buscemi! Actually interesting people!

So i’ve used twitter as a source of entertainment. And, as a pathetic celebrity whore, it’s really exciting to follow people i admire and get into their heads a bit. this could not have happened without twitter. So i’m netting out on the side of twitter is a good thing. because celebrities are better than us. that’s why. and nobody cares about how you like your morning bagel. unless you’re larry david.

new media tends to follow the path of least resistance. The internet 1994: a possibly world-changing tool that will facilitate cross-cultural dialogue on an unprecedented scale, OR, will it become a porn and gambling facilitator. and we all know how that went. twitter may have hit gold with celebs connecting to fans. a constant electronic flow of love from adoring fans – yeah that’ll work.

imagine if sean penn, who probably should never twitter, twittered for a month on behalf of a charity. and you had to pay ten bucks to follow him. i would do that!

So last week i had an idea for twitter. and today i found out it has been done. it’s this:

It connects “twitterees” (us tedious plebs) with “twitterers” (actually interesting celeb folk).

A brilliant idea.


The soon-to-be King of Twitter: Mr. Steve Buscemi

As  i blogged before, i largely use twitter to get access to minds that are more creative and ideally funnier than i am.  and it’s a great source of free entertainment.   I was a stephen fry follower when you were still thinking about getting AOL.   But i now have an instant new favorite:  Steve Buscemi.. I would like to state for the record that i started following him earlier today when he had a mere 500 odd followers. Yeah, that early. Chris Roe Esq. put me on to him. And i’m sure he’ll be a huge hit on twitter.

And i love the fact that he follows nobody on twitter. zero. as it should be. he should never change that. Steve Buscemi doesn’t need you, you need Steve Buscemi.

Trees Lounge was a masterpiece btw. See it today!

Stephen Fry now has 100,000 zombie twitter slaves eager to do his bidding

Veteran English TV, screen, radio and stage actor and comedian Stephen Fry has more than 100,000 twitter followers, including myself.

I got onto twitter more out of curiosity more than anything else. I actually don’t have that many real-world friends on twitter (or in the real world come to think of it) so i started following witty celebrities. Their lives are just so much more interesting!

What i didn’t know about Mr. Fry is that in addition to being one of the finest comic talents of his generation he is also an uber-geek. Hence his precocious and prodigious twittage. In fact his tech and gadget opinions hold quite some sway in his native UK.

So now i’m hooked on his frequent twitter updates. something i never dreamt would happen. It’s like some kind of bite sized text and pic-based celebrity reality show in which i play a tiny role. And i have to say i find it utterly fascinating.

So here’s to you Stephen Fry! Happy 100,000th.

Suck on that Hugh Laurie!