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Hashtag #hashtag

NewsweekSo it’s official!  Hashtag has been voted ‘word of the year’ by the American Dialect Society.

While the word has been around for decades, hashtags initially became popular on Twitter, where users would put them within tweets to make a larger comment or joke.   From there, it spread onto Facebook and everyday speech and a tipping point came when the only three words used on the cover of Newsweek magazine’s final print issue were preceded by a hashtag, making the cross over from web to print complete.

Twitter hashtags are a great way to organize tweets for common subjects or events, but people also use them as a way to connect to others over a good laugh. Once the twitterverse starts putting in their two cents, you get crowd-sourced, viral comedy. I’ve put together what I think are five of the funniest hashtag PR disasters that I’m sure will make you laugh:

  1. #Susanalbumparty:  Susan Boyle’s PR people are probably wishing they had re-read their promotional hashtag after missing its alternative message to Twitter users.  Causing great mirth on the social network, the unfortunate hashtag spawned a deluge of mock invites to the party until it was hastily renamed #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.
  2. #McDStories: Back in January, McDonald’s #McDStories hashtag backfired when instead of offering “good news stories” about the fast-food chain, users began flooding the tag with claims of fingernails in burgers and other nasties.
  3.  #WaitroseReasons: When the supermarket asked shoppers to complete the sentence: “I shop at Waitrose because …” using the hashtag #WaitroseReasons in September, it perhaps should have expected the subsequent tirade of jokes about the brand’s posh image – though many have said the way Waitrose responded turned the campaign from disaster to success.
  4. #MadeMeSmile: Vodafone was left bemused when Twitter users redeployed the PR #mademesmile tag to publish tax avoidance allegations directly to the company’s website.
  5. #QantasLuxury: Airline Qantas won the accolade of PR disaster of the year at the end of 2011 after opening up their promotional hashtag #QantasLuxury at a time when thousands of passengers were stranded overseas.hashtag

Purists will of course say that hashtag isn’t in fact a word but a symbol (like exclamation mark or question mark) and that the real name for this symbol is octothorpe – not quite as catchy though is it?

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They’re metaphors Richard

We should perhaps forgive the poor naive men who think that women spend their ‘time of the month’ horse-riding along beaches, rollerblading and skydiving, and that period blood is blue, for there are, it seems, a few of them out there.

One of these is Richard Neill, a disillusioned boyfriend who light-heartedly bemoaned being mis-sold the truth about menstruation on Bodyform’s Facebook page. His witty tale of woe prompted much amusement on the social networking site, and his message has, to date, received 86,743 ‘likes’ and 3,735 comments.  This is what he wrote on 8th October:

“Hi, as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years.
As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this  wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many  things, I felt a little jealous.
I mean bike riding, rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I  get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings!! Dam my  penis!!
Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !!
There was no joy, no extreme sports, no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no.
 Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady  changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin.  Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform, you crafty b*gger!”

Spotting a golden PR opportunity, the company responded with this hilarious spoof video response that has to be the funniest video I’ve seen in a long time – ladies, please watch and enjoy!

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