Social media: playing dumb, is it smart?

Blogger and and digital marketing maven Nicole Phillip Greene takes note of a risky new trend in the field.

A hot-off-the-press Mashable article identifies a new “trend” in social media marketing – playing dumb.

They focus on yesterday’s Hostess ad commemorating the start of Baseball season, and throw in some recent moves by other brands. I’m not swayed by Mashable’s pronouncements though, since I’m not convinced the and JC Penney scenarios actually qualify as “playing dumb”.

Here are the Hostess tweets in question.


The Monster spot, on the other hand, was clever and the intent of the joke was immediately clear – which is likely why it was also so successful.


The JC Penney Superbowl tweets took the reader along on an extended joke, but there was an eventual punchline. The social media staff were ostensibly #TweetingWithMittens, coinciding with the arrival of their winter gear in-store.


There’s no apparent punchline in the Hostess scenario, unless it’s the brand/apparent gaffe itself.

Being able to laugh at yourself is fine. Presenting yourself as dumb is a risky move. Brands should always be presenting themselves in the context of their expertise or authority.

I’d say this idea was “half baked”. With a little more effort, Hostess could have come up with a punchline to bring it “home”.

Controversy can only take you so far.

See the Mashable article here:

Nicole Phillip Greene.
Nicole Phillip Greene.

Outspoken, a mother of three and a bit of a creative nerd. Nicole is passionate about family and social good, and blogs from Trinidad & Tobago.

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