Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Penguin Swadesh

Here’s How Tweeting Right Can Make You a Marketing Legend

Get ready to unearth the gold in your language arsenal with Mine Your Language by Abhishek Borah, where the power of words can make your brand go viral. This book uncovers how the words we choose can either make or break a company’s success. With insights into the marketing tactics, and social media strategies of top brands like Toyota and Tesla, as well as tips on understanding customer reviews, this book is your go-to guide for using language to connect with consumers and drive business growth.

Read this exciting story of how Oreo became an overnight Twitter sensation during the Super Bowl.

Mine Your Language
Mine Your Language || Abhishek Borah


For a while now, digital communications have emerged as one of the most important means for brands to engage with customers. Brands increasingly use social media marketing, brand communities and buzz agents to build brands. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that a growing number of consumers have become disenchanted and have grown suspicious—if not tired—of digital communications and online advertisements. Many firms utilize personal data collected from their online users to target and personalize ads. This has led many consumers to find such ads intrusive, annoying, creepy and tiresome.


To help overcome this consumer annoyance, fear and fatigue, I, along with a set of friends who are also my co-conspirators in several research papers, explored the potential of ‘improvised marketing interventions’ (IMI) on social media. By ‘IMI’, we meant an impromptu, humorous, timely and unanticipated social media message from a brand that capitalized on an external event not connected to it—such as the Luis Suárez incident. We examined thousands of messages on X to see if tweets with the characteristics of an IMI could excite audiences and generate virality for the brand. ‘Virality’ means the number of retweets or shares received by the IMI on X.


We focused on X as it allowed us to capture a rich dimension of virality via retweets. Retweeting in X is a social phenomenon where users take a message someone else has posted and rebroadcast the same message to their followers. Unlike Meta (or Facebook), X is a one-way directed social network. On X, a user A ‘following’ user B does not imply that B ‘follows’ A. This unidirectional network structure suggests that a retweet is more credible, diffuses beyond the original user’s network, and is probably read more than a typical tweet because it is pre-screened and shared by a user who is followed. Though there are other forms of engagement on social media, such as likes and comments, which proxy for various engagement measures, we focused on virality. Our main goal was to enable managers to improve the effectiveness of sharing a brand’s digital communication on social media.


One brand that took advantage of the Super Bowl blackout was Oreo. When the entire Mercedes-Benz Superdome lost power for over thirty minutes, American football fans across the US took to social media to pass the time. Unexpectedly, Oreo, a popular cookie brand, filled the void within moments of the power outage, Oreo tweeted, ‘Power out? No problem’, along with a starkly lit image of a solitary Oreo cookie. The caption read, ‘You can still dunk in the dark.’ This now-famous tweet received 15,000 retweets in the eight hours after they posted it, creating significant publicity for Oreo at minimal expense. By contrast, a Super Bowl ad slot costs an average of $4.5 million. And this is an average. There are ads that cost much more. Amazon’s ninety-second commercial, Before Alexa, aired during Super Bowl LIV, is the most expensive Super Bowl commercial, along with Google’s commercial Loretta, which aired during the same Super
Bowl. Both cost a whopping $16.8 million. Oreo’s tweet cost the company almost nothing compared to the two above.


So, how did Oreo win the Marketing Super Bowl? One important phenomenon that Oreo used to its advantage is the modern consumer’s propensity to use multiple devices, known as ‘multiplexing’. Sports fans now, often, use not only the TV but also their smartphones and tablets to keep abreast of what is happening. Gone are the days when the only source of entertainment was the television. Oreo’s fifteen-person social media team realized they could catch the attention of these multiplexing fans when the Blackout happened. Their social media team, consisting of copywriters, artists and a strategist, was ready to react online to whatever happened in the Super Bowl within ten minutes—whether it was an amazing touchdown or, in this case, the lights going out. The team reacted quickly, and boy, did it pay dividends!


‘The new world order of communications today incorporates the whole of the way people are interacting with brands right now,’ said Sarah Hofstetter, former CEO of digital marketing agency 360i, which handled game-day tweeting for Oreo, in an interview with Wired. ‘Once the blackout happened, no one  was distracted—there was nothing going on. The combination of speed and cultural relevance propelled it to the forefront.


Similarly, Snickers, the chocolate bar brand, used the Suárez ‘Bitegate’ incident to showcase its cheeky brand of humour. The Snickers social media team was one of the first to call Suárez out on X, posting an image of a half-eaten Snickers bar with the slogan: ‘More satisfying than Italian’. The post generated about 17,700 likes and 1500 comments. Snickers was rewarded with 43,000 retweets in the next twenty-four hours and 38.7 million earned media impressions in two days with no paid media behind it. Again, no high television advertising costs, just like the Oreo tweet.



Get your copy of Mine Your Language by Abhishek Borah wherever books are sold.

The Internet’s Effect on Deep Thinking: Insights from iParent

Parenting in today’s digital age is undeniably challenging. With technology, the internet, and social media dominating our lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of notifications and updates. So how do we guide our children through the digital world’s maze without a map? Neha J Hiranandani‘s iParent is a friendly companion for parents navigating the complexities of raising kids in a digital age. Packed with practical advice and a dash of humor, it’s the go-to resource for fostering cyber-savvy kids without the stress.

Read this exclusive excerpt to know more!

iParent || Neha J Hiranandani


I remember reading about the Flynn effect in college. Buried neck-deep in books and classes, it was heartening to read that improved access to nutrition and better schools had made humans smarter in the twentieth century. Perfect grades seemed more achievable—after all, we had all become collectively smarter! That buoyancy, however, lasted just a few short decades. As things stand, the world is experiencing a reversal of the Flynn effect, and global IQ scores have dropped precipitously by six points. The truth is, we’re all turning a bit doltish. As one expert puts it, ‘People are getting dumber. That’s not a judgment; it’s a global fact.’


Most of us experience this doltishness every day. It’s getting harder to remember the names of colleagues, words stay permanently suspended on the tips of our tongues, and really, who can remember anyone’s birthday anymore? The Internet has fundamentally altered the way we process information, and as a result, we’re all struggling to focus. Every time we go online, our brains get subtly rewired. And since we are online so much, our brains are constantly adapting to accommodate the Internet’s deluge of small, shallow fragments of information.


Nicholas Carr, one of the most influential thinkers of our times, Is the author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, which went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist. ‘I’m not thinking the way I used to think,’ says Carr. The Internet, he says, ‘is chipping away [the] capacity for concentration and contemplation.’ Online activity, especially when we’re restlessly ping ponging from one activity to another makes us lose focus. Jumping from text to email, opening one tab and then quickly clicking on another, switching frantically back and forth between news and notifications—all of this destroys the calm brain and creates a new kind of mind, one that becomes comfortable processing information in quick, fragmented bursts. The faster, the better.


As Carr’s book title implies, over time our brains lose the ability to go deep. We start living in the shallows. ‘Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now, I zip along the surface like a guy on a jetski,’ he says. Admittedly, living life on a jetski sounds like great fun but you are likely to encounter a few problems. With all that wind in your hair, salt in your eyes and the world whizzing by, it’s difficult to make thoughtful decisions. It’s tough to stop and deeply appreciate beauty on a jetski or to meaningfully engage with an intractable problem. Given that our circuitry is so malleable, the more we stay online, the more we train our brains to be distracted. We can rapidly process snippets of information, but sustained attention becomes massively challenging. The longer we are on the jetski, the more challenging it is to get off it.


It’s not just Carr; scores of experts agree that the human brain simply wasn’t built for the endless game of ping-pong tantalizingly offered by our phones. The consequences seem especially disturbing for iGen which is growing up with easy and immediate access to information which ultimately has an effect on how the kids function, both emotionally and otherwise. Experts suggest that this generation will have ‘a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience and a lack of deep-thinking ability.’ Screenagers’ are not the only ones affected. Nine and ten-year-olds indulging in over two hours of screen time per day scored lower on thinking and language tests. Some kids saw a premature thinning of the cerebral cortex as they spent time on screens—their grey matter was disappearing.


Disappearing grey matter or not, it’s hard to stop! Regardless of which generation we belong to, none of us can stop pinging. Every notification, every distraction is a little dopamine nugget in disguise and it’s challenging to focus on something when you’re used to getting a reward hit every few seconds. Drunk on dopamine, we start liking the distractions. We seek them out. The more we seek them, the more we click and the more we click— bullseye!—the more accurately the algorithm can place irresistible links directly in our fields of vision. Think about the last time that you went to a shopping mall. You likely had a salesperson come up and ask you to try a product. It’s usually not a big deal because you’re likely to only encounter a couple of pushy salespeople per mall visit. But when you’re online, the push and pulls come at you from all directions!


‘Have you tried this new recipe?’ Potatoes, green onions and a touch of mustard.’

‘Are you looking to lose ten kilos in twenty days?’

‘Have you checked out the season’s hottest filter?’

‘Become a millionaire overnight. Join our mailing list for just Rs 199’

‘Join our community to always feel happy.’

‘Free shipping on this summer’s hottest perfume that will make you smell like Italian lemons.’

‘Are you bored? Lonely? Depressed?’ Here are fourteen essential oils that you need right now.’

‘Looking for love? There’s a big surprise waiting for you.’

‘Get discounted Diwali hampers when you order in March.’


The sales push doesn’t end because whether it’s essential oils or real estate, the algorithm knows what we want better than anyone else. So, we click on these irresistible links, breaking our attention, disrupting our concentration and creating an avalanche of lost focus, which in turn, overtaxes our brains. And wouldn’t you know it, an overtaxed brain finds distractions more distracting, and there it is: a self-perpetuating dependence loop. We click and lose focus, which makes us want to click all the more. Clickety-click we go all day, tappity tap we go all night, leaking data and losing focus all the while.


Get your copy of iParent by Neha J Hiranandani wherever books are sold.

error: Content is protected !!