The Rise of Trollmarketing and Trashtweeting on Business Social Media

Using trolling as a marketing campaign on social media. Advertising used to be so polite. Well except when it wasn’t. When Apple ripped into IBM with the Superbowl 1984 Ad, it was a shocker to the world. And unusual. Today it seems that every brand voice is experimenting with being obnoxious to get those much needed eyeballs that wander the ‘net lost in the Attention Economy. Dissing competitors is du jour. And activating your customers as an army leads to hooliganism that is usually reserved for soccer brands. What’s up with that?

Grab a cup of coffee while you read this and play the videos. Or a Coke. Will a Pepsi do? Cola Wars. Or a Burger King vs a Whopper (“Whoppers taste better”).

Cup from Microsoft. yes. Microsoft.

Or a beer

Brand Sarcasm – IKEA vs Apple

The newest trollmarketing campaign comes from Ikea against, ironically, Apple. And it’s funny, in a bitchy, attention seeking kinda way.
Ikea vs Apple – nearly 2 million views.

Brand Hate The Other Guy – Microsoft vs Google

Good old Microsoft – that bastion of brand love and customer happiness ratings [sarcasm]- vs Google.  Microsoft has developed an independent microsite called Scroogled (after Doctorow’s short story) to basically diss Google. Feel the love here. I didn’t find this one so funny. It seems to be arming the Microsoft fanbois against the Google fans. Key influencer against key influencer. This works – think football, sports in general – but what was fun in early Apple days against IBM, seems to reek of desperation today. Microsoft playing the underdog just doesn’t cut it?

Trollmarketing trashtweeting
There are blogs and merchandise and tv shows dedicated to trashing the opposition. Or at least making catty comments about other singing reality TV shows!

Brand Tribe War – Samsung vs Apple.

Getting your customers to go to war with the competitor customers is an art form. Some have mastered it others not so much. HOMEWORK. Post this question up on your personal Facebook profile or Twitter account: Hey guys I’m thinking of getting a new phone. Android or Apple?  Sit back. Watch. Samsung is very naughty re: Apple.

Audi vs BMW billboard war Opens in a new tab.escalated on Facebook.

If you are Sony Playstation, you wait until the day of the Microsoft Xbox release then mock/parody/hat tip the war between the two brands in a video on YouTube

It’s not just Technology wars – bank wars

Activate your customers to “break up with their bank”. NAB dropped this one on their competitors on Valentines Day. Noice.


Whether it’s individual competitors hammering it out for example Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes who sells tickets to his social media conference in Sydney for $900 a day, dissing me for charging the same for a small workshop in Bali  (and his 29 other bitchbloggings about meOpens in a new tab.) or the big boys of Ikea and Apple and Microsoft slugging it out, it’s all rather unpleasant. I’m not sure it reflects well on the initiator (seems a bit mean spirited to me) unless it’s done with a light touch and humour. Ikea gets it. Microsoft doesn’t. I’m pro- competition. It makes us better. But does it have to be sooo nasty? Trollmarketing and Trashtweeting can bitch right back at you.

Competitor Trashing vs Customer “Feedback”

I’m all up for listening to paying customers complain. And turning it around. You CAN win that war.

But competitors? Nah. NOT A CHANCE. Just stick it to THEM the next time they screw up. Or get on with being successful – give them something to REALLY waste their time on. 😉

Does anyone have a copy of the photo where a bank puts up “now open on Weekends!” and the competitor copies the sign with “Always been open on Weekends!”. I’d love a copy. 🙂 Ta.

PS Fave Brand wars that you’ve seen or indulged in?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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