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Oh the beloved #. It is actually called an octothorp, by the way. I’m not sure where hashtag comes from. Although a quick read of wikipedia will tell you.

Mainly associated with Twitter, it is found on several sites. Most notably Tumblr and Facebook. It is useful for sorting information. For example the best uses of this come from sports leagues. I was watching the MLB All-Star game this week and all I had to do was follow #asg and I had all the intel I needed to know.

Apparently there was a guy who dared Twitter people (or I guess they’d be called Tweeters? Or Twitterers?) that if they re-tweeted his tweet 1000 times he would run out onto the field. The only way anyone who wasn’t at the game knew about this was via Twitter #asg. A whole new dialogue came out of this experience. Pictures from fans made their way on the social network.

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Furthermore the better brand uses of the hashtag (because this is a blog about advertising) was during the Home Run Derby the day before. Fans could follow the players involved in the derby, or the other players/journalists who were at the event. MLB provided fans clips of interviews with the players about the events that were taking place.

Both these examples, planned and unplanned, brought the experience closer to the viewer, hundreds of miles away. Twitter has always been seen as a conversation medium, and people generally do. Twitter, or better yet the hashtag, are ways of organizing and finding information on a mass medium that is over saturated with content.

This is important to note because people generally won’t adopt a hashtag just because a brand tells them to. They do it because they want what ever it is that they are writing to be read. If there is an event going on like an All-Star game. Then by MLB promoting #asg is a good idea. It encourages people to use the # and get involved with MLB.

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Not that people need another way to tell everyone the mundane things that they are doing, now they can do it on fire.

I was on Twitter this afternoon and found this tweet in my feed:

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The tweet (in case you can’t read it) says: “Your name. In flames. Click here to make it awesome.”

It is a simple tweet that caught my attention. Even better for Doritos because I don’t even follow them. Their subtle tweet-ad caught my attention because it sounded cool. Like who wouldn’t want to see their name in flames? So this is what I found when I clicked through.

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You simply type your name into the box and it turns it into flames. You can then share it with friends via Twitter or Facebook. The only problem with this is that if you write anything more than 9 letters long it cuts it off. So if you have a long name you’re kinda screwed.

All in all it is a great tool that has a shelf life of about a month before everyone gets bored with it. But during that time it is going to increase the exposure of Doritos’ new flavour. I think it is a good idea, although it won’t last long it will serve its purpose well. It would be nice to see a longer type box that is longer than 9 letters. Also if they can extend the “burning” idea a little further it would be better.

You can check it out here.

This is the trap that social media advertising falls into, or better yet dilemma. People will find this interesting, but then annoying. There is no middle ground when it comes to things like this. The trick is hoping it gets popular quick, then dies out before it gets annoying. Once it is annoying people aren’t generally thinking “hmmm, I could go for some Doritos right now.” They’re thinking, “Again!” It would be great for Doritos to extend this campaign gradually. Thus bringing people back because there are new features and things that it can do.

But in the end I have two final things to say: first is that Doritos Inferno nachos are pretty tasty, and secondly is that I would like to know where I can find a flame font?

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