Spikes Asia 2015
The Social Scoop: Power of #Now

Quick show of hands. Which do you check first in the morning; the news, or Twitter? More and more people are hitting two birds with one stone and finding their news fix on the Twitter app. Hardly surprising, considering the immediacy of information and diversity of voices and perspectives available on any given story – something which is especially valuable as elections, scandals and tragedies unfold.

‘Twitter reports news the way today’s world demands it – immediate, always on, unfiltered,” says Joel Lunenfeld, VP of Global Brand Strategy at Twitter. “It is blow-by-blow accounts, as it happens, from the people who make it happen or witness it first-hand.”

Each year at Cannes, the marriage of traditional and social media is less of a conversation and more of an assumption, making it the ideal environment in which to showcase Twitter’s latest campaign. The company has teamed up with Ogilvy & Mather Singapore to build public awareness among Asian users of the platform’s utility as a source of timely, relevant news. The campaign features three high profile, global news stories which broke on Twitter before being picked up by traditional outlets.

The Sichuan Earthquake

As far back as 2008, people were turning to Twitter to report and receive important news. Web developer @dtan brought word of the earthquake in Sichuan province to the world hours before the US Geological Survey offered comment. Since then, platforms like Twitter have proven instrumental in relief efforts and survivor location in the aftermath of natural disasters, most recently in the case of the earthquake in Nepal.

The Death of Osama Bin Laden

It sounds like the kind of headline BuzzFeed would kill for; “That Awkward Moment When You Accidentally Live-Tweet The IRL Zero Dark Thirty.” But that was precisely what happened in May 2011, when IT consultant Sohaib Athar unwittingly tweeted the US Navy SEAL raid which resulted in Bin Laden’s death, inadvertently scooping every other media organisation on the planet. Athar tweeted afterwards; “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it.”

The Royal Baby

While the nation waited with bated breath for the arrival of Prince George back in July 2013, it was freelance photographer Jesal Parshotam who got that all-important first snap of Prince William and Kate Middleton arriving at the back entrance of the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London. His subsequent tweet has been credited with breaking the happy news to the nation that Middleton had gone into labour, and has even been called ‘the scoop of a generation’.

“Data was an integral part of the creative process,” says Eugene Chong, CCO of Ogilvy Asia-Pac, of the campaign. “We mined Twitter posts to examine how news had broken over the course of a number of major world events and visualised how the tweets and retweets built up to a crescendo, capturing the world’s attention and forever shaping history as the news was shared around the world in real time.”

Ironically enough, these visuals representing the digital world’s increasing share in breaking news are being implemented offline. “Our users are always on the go and always online,” says Lunenfeld. “To capture their attention in an unexpected place, we went with old-school print advertising in bus shelters and magazines to build brand recognition and drive app downloads.” The ads are currently running throughout India and Singapore, in addition to being showcased at Twitter HQ in San Francisco and the Twitter Suite at Cannes Lions.

Steve Kalifowitz is presenting on the Power of Now at Spikes Asia Advertising Festival.

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