We’ve been talking to clients for sometime about the power of Twitter and other social channels in creating intimacy around brands inherent or associative passion points. Something that’s particularly relevant for entertainment brands – where character extensions and back stories can come to life to maintain engagement and develop deeper more immersive narratives between (and possibly even during) on air/line shows.
If you were following Man Men’s @Don_Draper on Twitter last year it turns out it was actually Paul Isakson conducting a research project on doing exactly that. At first AMC had the profiles pulled from Twitter, then probably realizing they were getting free advertising and potentially facing a firestorm of online backlash, they let them go back up. However when Paul gave the profile over to AMC, despite being handed an active and essentially free dialogue with a large group of fans (who when finding out it was Paul still wanted @Don_Drapper to live on) they promptly did nothing with it.
The point isn’t so much the issues of authenticity and control – although those are obviously huge (and for another time) – but the fact that whilst followers of @Don_Draper probably feel let down by AMC, the other characters profiles, run by fans, have been thriving ever since. If brands are to jump in, whether through choice or through circumstance, they need to be committed to an ongoing approach. If they are not and are just in it for the life of a campaign they had better be clear about that up front and have an exit strategy that doesn’t leave those who were engaged feeling cold.