Published Mar 6, 2016 Updated Feb 29, 2020, 10:39 am CST
“Weird Twitter,” a loose cohort of people making good and ironical posts on the Twitter dot com website, is not especially fond of marketing and #brands. So when a Brooklyn coffee company approached popular online posts maker Leon Chang (@leyawn) about helping them become the “official coffee of Weird Twitter,” he burned them. Hard. So hard they deleted their account.
After Leon’s burn and some hot, thick jokes, the company deleted its Twitter account altogether. (It’s still on Facebook and has an official website, so rest assured this minor gaffe didn’t destroy the business entirely.)
[Placeholder for https://www.facebook.com/KnickerbockerCoffee/photos/a.1019393281453449.1073741828.1005298999529544/1024690057590438/?type=3 embed.]
It’s a shame to see such a perfect opportunity for corporate #brand #synergy (where one party sells something for money and the other party advertises it for free) slip down the drain. But that’s how things go in the “content game” these days. It’s brutal out there.
Reached for comment on Facebook, Knickerbocker Coffee explained what they were going for, and what they learned during their brief time as the official coffee company of Weird Twitter:
We sent out a friendly request to @leyawn asking if he would be interested in receiving some free coffee or a t-shirt in exchange for a tweet or retweet. We wrote the message in a sarcastic and corny fashion as is the style of our copywriting. We thought it was clear that most of the things we said in the message were sarcastic but, based on his reaction, we guess they were not clear enough. For example, we don’t actually think we are “topically hilarious” and we don’t actually think Weird Twitter fans need “a brand that understands them.”
We never expected it to be such a big deal or for him to respond in the way he did. Maybe we were a bit naive in attempting to reach out to weird twitter (we even admitted this may be foolish in our original message to him). Regardless, we hope this is behind us and we have learned from the incident that this may not be the best marketing strategy.
Leon learned something from the experience, too:
it turns out if you ask me to advertise for your business for free i will be extremely mean and make fun of you. did not see that coming
Even done well, companies trying to interact with people on Twitter is often uncomfortable to watch, in a Steve-Buscemi-on-30-Rock kind of way. And that goes double (at least double) for Weird Twitter, which loves good post havers and disdains brands. The only way to win that game is not to play.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.