As of January 2012 there were 1.23 billion Facebook members and Twitter had 243 million active monthly users. Traditionally social media is used to talk to friends and family and share photos and videos. Yet the reason I am so interested in social media is the potential to have a career through it whether it be YouTube vlogging, blogging or starting a career on Instagram as a photographer. The problem with social media is the general obsession to talk to people who aren’t there are not paying attention to anyone else you are with in real life! This is the worry of television companies as in a study by BSkyB 48% of viewers admitted to using social media whilst watching television. Television companies have no other option that than embrace it. The only way is Essex (TOWIE) came on top of a poll on the 24th of February 2013 stating it was the most tweeted about show that day. The popular staged reality television show, now aired on ITV’s new channel ITVBe and rakes in on average 730,000 views making it the channels most popular show. Most of the characters on the programme, past and present, tend to live tweet while the programme is on encouraging audiences to interact with them.
Not only television programmes encourage interaction from the audiences, now television adverts do too! Usually embedding hashtags in adverts prompts viewers to tweet about an interesting advert they may have seen on television, spreading word about the product. It is now rare to see any sort of production on television without an incorporated hashtag.
John Lewis Monty the Penguin
On the 6th of November 2014 John Lewis released the eagerly anticipated Christmas advert for the year. After producing the bear and the hare and the snowman in previous years much was to be desired for what was to come next. The retail giant spent £1 million on the CGI animated penguin. The advert blew up on the Twittersphere with use of the hashtag #MontyThePenguin and mentioning @JohnLewisRetail The company also created a page for both Monty and Mabel, the penguins featured in the advert. Both penguins interact with one another using humour and typical couple conversations.
The penguin had dominated social media with 200,000 shares the day it was posted. Interestingly John Lewis uploaded the video to YouTube a week before it was actually premiered on the X Factor. Is this just another sign that the second screen really is becoming the dominant form of marketing over the television?
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