The ‘greatest Twitter prank ever’?

Chances are you’ve already seen the latest social stunt from Paddy Power, but did the prank really ‘win the internet’?

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I’m all for social media stunts, but the latest ‘prank’ by Paddy Power left me feeling a little “so what?”…

Paddy Power is one of the UKs biggest betting shops so at with the new football season kicking off you would expect them to become more vocal across their marketing channels. On the whole their social media ticks all the right boxes: there are a few promotional tweets, a few funny ones, some memes and other content their target audience will enjoy, plus serious sports stats and news. But their ‘hilarious’ twitter prank that took place in early August caught my eye for all the wrong reasons.

In a nutshell: their social media guy received a text message in error. He decided to play along, leading on the guy on the other end of the phone, posting an image of each text on Twitter to scores of Paddy Power followers who suggested what to say next. You can read the whole exchange here.

Paddy Power Twitter Stream

The Paddy Power twitter feed was littered with promo tweets in between the Steve/Jess exchange, so I can’t decide whether this was just an elaborate ruse to get some attention, or whether the hasty addition of a hashtag mid-way through means it’s genuine. But regardless, I still think it’s been undeserving of the attention it has garnered. Especially when it became the third most read news item on The Mirror… (“won the internet”?) REALLY…..?

The Mirror - Top News

I mean, I’m know I’m not the target audience for this – female, not a football fan, not a gambler – but neither am I the right market for the fantastic and hilarious Old Spice videos that went viral a while back. My point is that I appreciate a good marketing/PR stunt when I see one and I love seeing creative and inventive content, regardless of whether it’s targeted at me or not.

My problem with Paddy Power is that I don’t believe the stunt earned the recognition it has been given and I don’t really see the appeal – for me, it’s not funny, creative or inventive. I’m not even sure why the social media guy felt the need to tweet this exchange, and I certainly don’t understand why so many sites featured it. Just a couple of months ago Paddy Power were doing everything right when they stirred up controversy with their World Cup 2014 stunt. This took some thought, and was deserving of its fifteen minutes of fame. Screen grabbing tweets just isn’t quite the same.

The most amazing thing about the Paddy Power tweets? They actually appear to have got themselves a good twitter reach despite the rubbish and noise that floats around the twittersphere. On average, their regular tweets have getting between 50 and 150 retweets and between 80 and 180 favourites. The ‘Steve’ tweets received at least 50 retweets and between 50 and 200 favourites for each tweet sent (there were around 50 in total). So instead of shaking my head at Paddy Power and their questionable content efforts, perhaps I should instead be astounded with what their uninspiring content has enabled them to do.

So (very) begrudgingly, bravo Paddy Power.

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