Another lesson of how not to use Social Media was learned today, after the PR company who represents this year’s BritAwards sponsors MasterCard appear to have insisted that journalists guarantee coverage for their client, if they wish to attend the event.
Before two journalists from the broadsheet The Telegraph were given accreditation to attend the event, House PR reportedly asked them to agree to a number of requests about the coverage they will give the sponsors.
Unbelievably they went as far as to draft Twitter messages which they would like the journalists to send out and asked that they include a mention of the marketing campaign #PricelessSurprises and @MasterCardUK.
Here’s the email that was sent to Telegraph Mandrake columnist Tim Walker:
“Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. As you know we’ve been in touch re. accreditation for the BRIT’s but just wanted to check in with you directly to confirm that you are happy with the below.
Firstly as part of our Priceless Surprise we are putting on cars to take guests directly to the awards – we will be booking your car to take both yourself and Katy from the office at 4:30pm. Are you happy with these details?
In addition – in return for this ticket we would like to ask that you agree to the following…
Social media support from both publication and personal Twitter feed
Pre event – e.g. Really excited to be heading down to @BRITAwards tonight with @MasterCardUK #PricelessSurprises
Event night – live tweeting from the event including @MasterCardUK handle and #PricelessSurprises and to retweet @MasterCardUK tweets throughout the night where appropriate
Post event – tweet directing followers to @MasterCardUK BRITs YouTube videos
Pre-event coverage of MasterCard’s Priceless Surprise video edits with either Laura Mvula, Kylie Minogue and/or Pharrell Williams – to include full credit for MasterCardUK and #PriclessSurprises
All features to be pushed on publications social feeds – to include @MasterCardUK and #PricelessSurprises
MasterCard inclusion in post event write-up (print and online) including #PriclessSurprises hashtag and somethingforthefans.co.uk URL
Post event write up presence on publication homepage (where possible)
Inclusion of MasterCard branded event night images in post event piece
Post event – coverage support for MasterCard music activity in 2014 (Beyonce & JT)”
Of course it didn’t take long for the internet to become suitable enraged and it wasn’t long until hilarity ensued and some even vented their anger via the medium of the under-appreciated venn diagrams.
Mastercard issued the following statement: “We have become aware of this situation and have been clear with our agency and attending media. Attendance at the Brits is not, nor has it ever been, a condition of coverage or endorsement. To imply such is highly inappropriate.”
Who would have thought that over branding and imposing conditions on journalists could have backfired? My ultra-cynical side thought, this was some kind of clever double bluff of a move where the misstep was purposely performed and timed to perfection because ultimately MasterCard now have everyone talking about their brand for free but before we credit a PR firm with such a genius and cunning yet dastardly plan.
A quick look on Twitter showed the paid for promoted twitter trend alongside the normal trend that was naturally full of scorn from the internet community which had more leaves a nice after taste of irony in the air.
Social media is a conversation and not a dialogue, traditional methods of quickly trying to enforce rules and monetising a campaign simply no longer work in a world where thankfully its honesty and integrity that is respected.
No more shortcuts, only those who remain patient, listen, observe, share and connect will be victorious in the modern world.