One popular way ad agencies have learned to suck the lifeblood out of the web is to hijack popular hashtags and use them for their own evil branding purposes. Take the case of Jell-O, for example, whose marketers apparently convinced them they could tap into the millennial market by changing the meaning of “FML,” or “Fuck My Life,” a phrase deployed in times of great anguish, such as when your mom forgets to pack your lunch.
The online is moving offline, didn’t you hear? Yesterday, the creative types at Crispin Porter + Bogusky installed a billboard at West Broadway and Grand in Soho that works like a real-world complement to its JELL-O Pudding Face website. Online, the site’s “mood-meter” tracks tweets, purporting to have created “the most accurate gauge of America’s moods ever.” If the nation starts seeming down in the 140-character dumps, JELL-O gives away pudding to make it feel better. The larger-than-life face on the billboard in Soho likewise smiles or frowns depending on the national mood (as interpreted by Twitter), offering the same pudding pick-me-up for the blues. Our only problem: Why wasn’t the face Bill Cosby’s?