Fake Hacks Are NOT a Good Marketing Plan

We have all witnessed the Twitter issues brands Burger King and Jeep had as its accounts were hacked. It was embarrassing for those brands and something that can be prevented. However, Viacom-owned MTV and BET decided it would be a brilliant (not) idea to hack themselves to capitalize on the hacking craze. My colleague Mike Schaffer touched on the PR side of this mistake on his blog.

As this started out, it seemed like a hack. Many on Twitter were even saying, “Not another one.” After perusing both accounts, it was clear it wasn’t a hack, but a marketing and publicity ploy from the start. Any smart marketer, PR pro or social media community manager will say this isn’t something that should EVER enter your minds as a good idea.

First, this is a good way for a brand to put themselves in the crosshairs of a real hack, something that isn’t a great idea. It’s like swimming into shark infested waters with a bag full of shrimp. Second, the moment you buy into doing something that is fake, you are doing marketing wrong.

BET Twitter

There is no “swag” here. While MTV and BET may have thought this was brilliant, the people who panned it were numerous. You make your brand out to seem like it is run by high schoolers or worse. I know if I polled ten of my community manager colleagues, nine would say this was a horrible idea.

MTV Twitter

As a community manager and marketer, you need to consider your audience’s intelligence as well. MTV saying “We totally Catfished you guys” says one thing: We don’t think our followers are very smart. 

MTV and BET probably felt that they could get away with something like this. No, you can’t. You just made your brands seem pathetic and desperate for attention… the wrong kind.


About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on February 20, 2013, in Hot Topic, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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