News alert: PR and marketing pros are still keen on newsjacking.
Two-thirds of consumers want organizations to take stands on major issues, research shows. On Wednesday, many social media teams jumped on a trending political conversation—but without wading into controversy.
On Wednesday, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System sent a test message to everyone using a cellphone in the US that runs on a network operated by a carrier participating in the Wireless Emergency Alert system. You'd know you got the message if the header read "Presidential Alert."
The content of the message also made it clear that the message is only a drill. It'll read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
Though it was called a “presidential alert,” the message was a test from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, not a direct message from President Donald Trump.
The aim of the alert is to warn Americans about national emergencies, and it works like weather or Amber alerts. However, unlike these other alert systems, presidential alerts cannot be turned off.
The Presidential Alert is similar to the state-level systems that let police and local authorities send out AMBER Alerts and weather warnings. The biggest difference is its scale. Wednesday’s nationwide system was designed to blast a message to all 225 million smart phones in the United States – and reach about 75% of the population.
That didn’t stop many Twitter users from responding with jokes and memes—nor did it stop brand managers from taking the chance to grab 15
minutes seconds in the digital spotlight by hopping on the trending hashtag.
Many sports teams and organizations tweeted altered pictures of the presidential alert with player and game news:
Magazines Complex and The Root sought to turn the conversation to pop culture:
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Twitter account didn’t miss the chance to tweet a fake alert to its followers:
Ellen DeGeneres also took part in the conversation:
Several fast-food brand accounts couldn’t resist tweeting their own alerts, either. Burger King, Pizza Hut and Steak-umm didn’t include the trending #PresidentialAlert hashtag, but still garnered retweets, “likes” and conversation:
did everyone get our message pic.twitter.com/wgH1TCdd9X— Burger King (@BurgerKing) October 3, 2018
THIS IS A PIZZA TEST to ensure you're aware it's #NationalPizzaMonth. Action is needed: Get 35% off menu priced items through 10/7 using code 35OFFPIZZAMONTH at checkout!— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) October 3, 2018
The social media teams for a few alcohol brands, including White Claw Hard Seltzer, Jameson Irish Whiskey and Natural Light Beer tried inserting themselves into the conversation:
Online teams representing PETA and the city of Boulder, Colorado, tweeted alerts that highlighted their core messaging:
Social media managers for several zoos ditched altered phone alert photos for images of cute animals and renamed alert organizations, which included “Cute North American River Otter Alert System”:
What do you think of social media teams’ efforts to join the Twitter conversation around yesterday’s presidential alert, PR Daily readers? (This is not a test; action is needed. Please sound off in the comments section.)
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