Ohio University Strategic Social Media

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Category: Alyssa Das

Interview With Complex’s Shelbi Jones

By Alyssa Das

I recently was able to interview my friend, Shelbi Jones, about her views on social media in general and as a career. Shelbi works in Advertising at Complex in Chicago. She’s been my friend and role model since high school. For someone who is not even a year out of college, she is full of industry knowledge and advice, I just told her yesterday she is a “giant vat full of knowledge.” I am extremely lucky to have so many friends doing dope sh*t.

 The first thing I asked Shelbi was for advice:

Me (Alyssa): What advice do you have for an aspiring social media professional?

Shelbi: One piece of advice that I would give to an aspiring social media professional is to make an effort to understand the different roles of social media in business. We use social for anything from promoting our brand to using social influencers to promote other brands for advertising campaigns. It’s important to understand what part of social is the most interesting to you. Do you like reporting, copywriting, developing content? We have two different social teams at Complex. We have CORE who reports for us, works with social influencers and more brand partnership focused issues. Then we have the Social Squad who works closely with editorial. They control our Twitter accounts, Facebook and Snapchat. They make sure we are one of the first outlets tweeting about any big news in pop culture, music, sports and style. They also go to tent pole events, like All-Star Weekend or SXSW to generate social content for our audience.

A: What is the best advice you could give to someone in an entry-level position?

S: The best advice I could give to a person in an entry-level position is to make your goals known. Don’t be overbearing, but let your manager and team know where you want to be in the foreseeable future. For example, I told my manager now that I have an interest in events and promotions, now whenever our events and promotions team is in Chicago he allows me to go on-site and assist them, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t speak up.

A: Can you tell me a Complex social media success story?

S: One of the latest successful social media campaigns that we completed was in partnership with Chevy Trax.

A: What made it so successful?

S: They wanted to raise millennial awareness of their latest small SUV, so we partnered with influencers in NYC and LA to create the campaign, Hidden Gems. Influencers were given a Chevy Trax SUV to ride around in for the night with friends. They were also given an itinerary of Hidden Gems in each city and they were contracted to post about the happenings of the night and mentioning the SUV. I think it was successful because of the social influencers who we used. They had a plethora of followers and were known around each city. The program generated interesting content beyond just using the hashtag. The program was so successful that we went on partner with them again for Trax 2.0, which took place in Austin and New Orleans.

Here’s a screen shot of an interactive map, showing each city with #HiddenGems, from http://partner.complex.com/traxhiddengems/ Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.17.39 AM

A: What do you think the most important trend in social media is?

S: I think the most important trend in social media is getting away from using famous people to endorse products and focusing on social influencers. Consumers are interested in the opinions of people who are like them. Following the Kardashians is entertaining, but Kim and I aren’t using the same shampoo or driving the same car, ya know?

A: Who, other than Kanye, should I follow to keep up on social media?

S: My favorite account to follow on twitter for social trends is @247LS. Laundry Service is a social media agency with offices all over the country. They’re really up to date with everything trending in social and they are constantly getting me hip to new trends. I feel like a lot of social trends that sites talk about are just regurgitated and always about millennials. Laundry Service doesn’t do that. They are the ones who taught me how people are making their own custom snapchat geotags for weddings and other big events. I’ve seen the custom geotags but I had no idea how they were being made. Laundry Service had the run down.

I am extremely lucky to have someone like Shelbi in my life, someone I can call or text for advice on stuff like this and for personal stuff. I’ve always thought Complex was a cool brand and this interview was a great way to get to know more about the internal environment of the company. She also provided a lot of good tips on who to follow, when to speak up and what to focus on. I also got to learn about a Complex campaign and partnership I have never heard about. For more Shelbi wisdom, check out her Twitter.

The Attack of the Intern: How One Tweet Uprooted an Entire Campaign

 By: Alyssa Das

Pizza Hut is a pretty big brand in the United States, they have over 1.3 million followers on Twitter and 27,261,184 likes and 3,961,779 page visits on their Facebook. According to Social Media Today this is because their content team is quick and able to turn ideas into social posts within minutes. This idea holds true for their UK brand as well.

Pizza Hut UK recently began campaign to promote their new delivery option, the campaign is called It’s A Big Deal. For £14 you can get a large pizza, any side, garlic bread, wedges, and a 1.5 liter drink. They promoted their new campaign with some pretty ridiculous ads, check this one out: ad video

Pizza Hut Delivery – The Big Deal 30s from Ogilvy & Mather Group UK on Vimeo.

These videos show things people would think are a big deal (divorce, lightning strikes, magnetic faces, a ventriloquist doll going solo) and kind of say “hey that’s not a big deal, this is a big deal.”  The nature of the campaign is silly, Adweek says “It goes without saying that the ads are still pretty dumb, but that’s the point.”

At first, it was a pretty good campaign. People were talking about the ads, they were talking about Pizza Hut and they were ordering more pizzas. The trouble of this campaign came on January 16th 2016, in the middle of the tennis match-fixing scandal. (side note: If you aren’t a huge tennis fan and don’t know much about this scandal you should check it out, it’s huge.)

The only explanation I could ever come up with for the following tweet is what I call The Attack of the Intern. Someone on Pizza Hut’s social media team must have given the Twitter login to an ambitious and excited intern who decided this would be a great idea: 

The tweet has been deleted since January, but I’ve got a screen shot of it above. The GIF was of a tennis player swinging a racket with text saying something along the lines of “that’s not a big deal” then switching to a pizza and saying “this is a big deal.” Classy.

The reality though, is this probably wasn’t the work of an intern, it’s probably the work of a group of experienced people; but if I were Pizza Hut, I would totally blame it on my intern. I think the tweet singlehandedly turned a somewhat successful campaign into a really big social fail.

There is a time and a place for humorous campaigns and I think brands have got to be careful when trying to connect their campaigns to current events.

The GIF made the tweet so much worse. It shows that there was more than a split-second decision to tweet or not tweet, it shows there was a conscious decision and process to make this. I am no design expert, but that animation had to have taken at least an hour to make, meaning they had at least an hour to decide this was a terrible idea. But they didn’t. They ran it.

This tweet was a social fail because it took something people cared about (tennis scandal) and turned it into a joke. Tennis is the fifth most popular sport in the UK. Pizza Hut should have considered this fact when they were thinking about making this tweet. They should have considered the connections they were going to lose with tennis fans while making this tweet. They should have considered how one tweet could ruin an entire campaign while making this tweet. But they didn’t. Instead they took time and effort to make fun of something a lot of people were upset about, turning their campaign into a social fail.

Brand of the Day: Pizza Hut Wants You to Know Italians Hate Its Pizza. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/brand-day-pizza-hut-wants-you-know-italians-hate-their-pizza-161548
Mutants and a Talking Puppet Can’t Believe Pizza Hut Is for Real in These Silly Ads. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/mutants-and-talking-puppet-cant-believe-pizza-hut-real-these-silly-ads-169036
O&M London make a ‘Big Deal’ of Pizza Hut Delivery. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2016/01/om-london-make-a-‘big-deal’-of-pizza-hut-delivery/
Pizza Hut Delivery – Big Deal – Puppet by Ogilvy & Mather Group UK – Television. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34521475/big-deal-puppet/pizza-hut-delivery
Taco Bell Delivers Saucy Valentine’s Campaign Via Snapchat. (2015). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://marketingland.com/taco-bell-delivers-saucy-valentines-campaign-via-snapchat-118372
The Big Brand Theory: Pizza Hut. (2014). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/big-brand-theory-pizza-hut
The Surprising Audience That Responded to Pizza Hut’s Rebranding. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/blog/opinion/surprising-audience-responded-pizza-huts-rebranding/

How AirAsia Gave Away A Plane to Create A Social Win

Alyssa Das

Imagine winning a free flight from Sydney, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But this flight isn’t just for you, it’s for you and 302 of your favorite Facebook friends. But it doesn’t stop there, you also get three nights accommodation for you and your 302 friends, as well as a return flight to Sydney, all paid for by AirAsia.

In 2012 this dream became a reality for Julie-Anne Foster. She and 262 of her Facebook friends boarded a plane in Sydney for a once in a lifetime experience, which CNN described as “the biggest Facebook friendship test ever conceived”. The contest, developed by Noble Studios, was created to get the word out about AirAsia’s new Sydney to Kuala Lumpur route. Their target audience was the Sydney metropolitan area, a highly competitive market for budget airlines. The goal was to increase Facebook engagement, leading to more ticket sales for the new Sydney to Kuala Lumpur route.

A breakdown of the contest can be seen in the AirAsia Friendsy video below, but the gist of it is: any Facebook user can pick up to 302 of their Facebook friends to go on this journey, users can decide everyone’s seats by dragging and dropping their friend’s into the seats on Facebook, or can do it randomly by pressing the “easy” button. People were able to tag their friends in their Air Bus A330, and take a screen shot of it to share on their own Facebook pages.

The contest was a huge success and the campaign won a Silver Award in the Facebook Studio Awards, and according to the Facebook Studio Awards page, “The campaign grew the AirAsia Facebook fan base by 30%. The competition received 12,500 entries and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook! It grew from local, to national to international news, generating PR value of $1,627,593!”

The screenshot below is from Noble Studios website, explaining the success of the campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 4.32.36 PM

This campaign proves to be a #SocialWin because it gained likes for AirAsia’s Facebook page, reached over two million people and won two industry awards. It created an engaging and exciting way for people to learn and talk about AirAsia in new and different ways. The contest not only helped build (or hurt in some cases) friendships, but also brand awareness and helped build a community around the AirAsia brand in Australia. During the contest people were engaging with each other and with the brand through personal Facebook pages as well as on the AirAsia page. The contest created a lot of hype about the brand and helped create awareness in and outside of the Target audience.

One thing I would do to better the campaign is promote it more on other social media platforms. There was a heavy focus on Facebook, and for a good reason. But I think the contest could have benefited from more posts on other social sites (Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube Google Plus because it was still a thing in 2012). Overall though I think Noble Studios created a great campaign for AirAsia and it can be seen in all of the measurements above.


AirAsia Friendsy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDvMgQoRAtg
AirAsia Friendsy – Social Media Campaign | Noble Studios. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from http://www.noblestudios.com/work/air-asia/
AirAsia X gives away a plane! (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from http://www.airasia.com/my/en/press-releases/airasia-x-give-away-a-plane.page
AirAsia X to give away a plane … temporarily. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/play/how-win-airbus-691828/
Social gaming case study: AirAsia ‘Friendsy’ competition lets Facebook friends share private plane. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from http://www.digitaltrainingacademy.com/casestudies/2015/04/social_gaming_case_study_airasia_friendsy_competition_lets_facebook_friends_share_private_plane.php
The AirAsia Friendsy Facebook Campaign Teardown. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from http://zipfluence.com/AirAsiaFriendsy.shtml