Brands Saying Bae: Social Media Gone Right?
Love it or hate it, as of 2014, the word "hashtag" will forever be enshrined in arbiter of the English lexicon Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Along with "hashtag," social networking site Twitter has brought the ever-changing phenomenon of language into sharp relief. As terms quickly rise and fall, it's easy to get confused or fall behind the current lingo. Or, even worse, make yourself look like a fool trying to stay fresh. One intrepid Twitter account, the apropos @BrandsSayingBae emerged on the scene to put some brands in their place on that matter.
In case you're not familiar, the term "bae" hasn't yet been added to Webster's, but is a commonly-used term of endearment among "kids, these days." @BrandsSayingBae rightly points out the absurdity of some brands trying to engage with their younger markets with the relevant slang of the times. Check out some examples, and @BrandsSayingBae's witty call-outs of the behavior.
This is straight out of Don Draper's playbook. pic.twitter.com/8U5CrGKPEj
— Brands Saying Bae (@BrandsSayingBae) January 7, 2015
God... this is just so engaging and relatable. pic.twitter.com/s9MdkPIfGc
— Brands Saying Bae (@BrandsSayingBae) December 29, 2014
But whether or not you're cracking up or cringing, there's an important takeaway here: While the idea of all brands speaking in slang might seem just plain silly, in reality for some brands, it's an indication that they're keenly in tune with their target demographics. Take, for example, brands like Taco Bell, Sonic, IHOP and Denny's, whose key consumers are hangry millennials, who also crave social media marketing that they can relate to, not product pitches. Among others, these two brands have demonstrated a deft mastery of community building and awareness of how to connect intelligently.
When you think "boxed pasta bundled with a packet or packets of powdered sauce or seasonings," think of the bae one. pic.twitter.com/F0PXCncYL0
— Brands Saying Bae (@BrandsSayingBae) December 28, 2014
However, when a brand like Hamburger Helper—whose target demographic is soccer moms trying to feed their kids before practice—pulls the same stunt, it's clearly telegraphing a severe disconnect from their audience. As with everything else in marketing, using slang or appropriated language isn't a one-size-fits all approach, but might prove effective if you target an audience with a particularly large proportion of millennial. Maybe instead of ridiculing Denny's et al, we should be praising them for their cleverness, instead.