On Monday I posted this piece focusing on brands’ policies for Twitter engagement. American Apparel’s repetitive self-promotion and total lack of responsiveness was decidedly too primitive for the usual label, Ad. neanderthalis. Thus, in keeping with our theme of hominid species, they were given the rare (and unflattering) accolade Ad. erectus.
Meanwhile, Chipotle’s humorous, relevant and personalized conversations showed the adaptive advantage need for the modern age, winning my praise and the title of Ad. sapiens.
Thinking the matter was settled and the issue sufficiently discussed, I published the post. As luck would have it, however, a bit of Twitter tomfoolery would yield my most laughably awful interaction with a brand the very next day. While this company does not exhibit American Apparel’s absurd arrogance, their efforts to connect with users are still trapped in a bygone age. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce a late player to Darwinian Advolution.
Ad. neanderthalis: Sprint
Earlier this week, I was treated to this bizarre and horrifyingly catchy advertisement. I want to warn those of who have not scene the latest Sprint television commercials, it will haunt you until the end of your days.
Obviously, I had to share this terrible knowledge with the world. So I took to Twitter with a humorous post that was, in all honesty, fairly mediocre. Barely ten minutes later, I was surprised to have received a reply from Sprint’s sales department. Yet while my original tweet was unremarkable, the response was just pathetic.
Plain and simple, this was the weakest attempt at filling the sales funnel that I have ever seen. The tweet is not remotely conversational, showing total obliviousness to the context of my original message. There are initials acting as a signature at the end of the tweet, which is a tactic that I praised Chipotle for. But the only way to convince me that a real person read my post and wrote that reply is with time- and date-stamped video footage.
That said, I couldn’t help but laugh a little at Sprint’s clueless attempt at automated digital salesmanship. I decided to keep the fun going by acknowledging the boldness of their direct approach.
If there is any sure sign that someone is not taking your pitch seriously, it’s comparing you to a sociopathic Alec Baldwin. But as if intentionally trying to better fit the characterization, Sprint wasn’t quite ready to let this sale slip away.
You get the picture. What’s worse, the entire Sprint Sales Twitter feed is a whole lot more of the same. Many of the responses are actually to tweets complaining about wireless service providers, and some of them are even customized to the specific complaints they are responding to. However, with a bit of scrolling, it becomes very easy to notice a pattern of a few templates urging people to contact a sales rep.
I gave American Apparel very low marks in the original post for pushing its products on Twitter without showing any interest whatsoever what its audience is saying. The only advantage Sprint’s sales team shows is that they aren’t afraid to use copy and paste. By only pretending to pursue engagement, Sprint proves that they never even evolved to the level of social marketing cro-magnon.