KFC offers $20,000 in college money to best high-school tweeter

By David Kiefaber on Thu Nov 18 2010


I've never considered KFC an institution that values learning (they're barely an institution that values food), but they must think differently. After all, they're offering a $20,000 Colonel's Scholars scholarship to the high-school senior who tweets the most compelling case for deserving it. The 140-character limit includes the #KFCScholar hashtag, by the way. The winner, who must be a high-school senior with a minimum 2.75 GPA, will get up to $5,000 a year to put toward an accredited public university in their home state. That more or less amounts to free college, unless the winner lives in California. KFC isn't the first organization to give away college money through Twitter—CollegeScholarships.org introduced a tweet-based award last year—but it's hard to measure creativity, need and drive (KFC's three required elements) in 140 characters. In fact, one could surmise that winning the scholarship would have more to do with dumb luck than actual merit. Still, if you're going to enter this contest, telling them how much you love their food probably won't help you. You'll be better off telling them how good you'll look in those Double Down sweatpants.

Your dog, a big fan of frivolous pursuits, is itching to join Twitter

Posted on Tue Feb 16 2010


My cats have been IM-ing me for sometime now (more kibble, please!), so I'm not that impressed with Mattel's plan to launch a new high-tech toy called Puppy Tweets. Dogs … always late to the party. Anyway, this sound-and-motion-activated gadget attaches to collars and links to home computers so dogs can issue updates to their very own Twitter pages. The tweets are canned, of course, but with 500 to pick from, it'll take a little while to cycle through them, especially since most pets sleep about 80 percent of the time. Sample tweets: "I bark because I miss you. There, I said it. Now hurry home." "Guess what I'm licking right now?" (Go ahead, guess.) There are a couple of good pop-culture precedents here. The obvious one is Dug, the squirrel-loving dog from Disney/Pixar's Oscar-nominated Up. The other is the classic Simpsons episode where Homer's half-brother invents a baby translator that puts words to infants' gurgles and cries. One of Maggie's best lines: "I've soiled myself. How embarrassing." Puppy Tweets, one of a zillion new products at this week's Toy Fair in New York, will show up at retailers in the fall for $29.99. Expect a Facebook war with the Zhu Zhu Pets.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Chris Brown manages to make people feel sympathy for Walmart

Posted on Tue Dec 15 2009


Uh-oh. Chris Brown's anger-management issues have gotten him into trouble again. Rihanna's bruiser of an ex had a Twitter meltdown over the weekend, launching into a profane series of rants after going into a Connecticut Walmart and not seeing his new CD, Graffiti, on the shelves. He raged against retailers like Walmart and the music industry for not stocking the CD. Turns out the store had sold out of the album, with Walmart saying all of its stores have carried it since its release earlier this month. Brown has since shut down his Twitter account—probably a good move for media targets given to compulsive public outbursts.

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary

Twitter your sins to the MGM Grand. And please make them good

Posted on Thu Nov 12 2009


In the recession, Las Vegas, or at least its hotels, seems to be trying to shed its Disney-fied image. First, we had those Monte Carlo ads, which seemed like an extension of the movie The Hangover. Now, the MGM Grand is running a Twitter-focused campaign asking consumers to confess their sins over the microblogging site to win a one-night stand at the hotel. One free night will be randomly given away each day until Nov. 26. The campaign, from Cramer-Krasselt, has gotten some interesting responses—found at the #mgmsin hashtag—though nothing earth-shattering. @MishelleRios, for instance, admits that she "Knows every word to the song Cool Rider from the movie Grease2." @PFNGirl1 "walked around with my zipper down at the mall." @dmillersba says he "once registered for a conference I didn't need in Phoenix just because it was within driving distance of Vegas." Yawn. What would Frank and Dino think?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Sunset Strip clubs rethink the bar crawl with help from Twitter

Posted on Thu Jul 16 2009


Eons ago, back in my hillbilly hometown, there was something called the Bambi Walk, which was considered a rite of passage and, to some, the rip-roaringest way to spend a 21st birthday. You'd start at that club way down yonder and drink your way through several miles of seedy establishments, ending up at a choice watering hole called the Bambi Bar. If that Disney-esque woodland creature by the front door could talk, oh the stories it could tell.
  It seems people still like the pub crawl, but in Los Angeles, it's upscale! And with Twitter! The Sunset Strip, a 1.3-mile stretch of bars, restaurants and clubs, recently launched its first Tweet Crawl, with the Comedy Store, the Viper Room, the Roxy and others sending out Tweets about drink specials, free tickets, prizes and perks. The event was part of an overall Twitter-based marketing push for the Sunset Strip, which, like most shopping and nightlife areas, has been slammed by the recession. Traditional marketing didn't really fit the bill or the pocketbook, so the businesses went for social (read: free) media. In a matter of weeks, @TheSunsetStrip has amassed nearly 5,500 followers on Twitter, and @theroxy has more than 16,000.
  The Tweet Crawl was a success, and, this being Hollywood, there's a sequel in the works already. Look for Tweet Crawl 2 in the next few months.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

AT&T not really having the most wonderful day over on Twitter

Posted on Tue Jun 9 2009


The good news: AT&T is currently the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter. The bad news: That's because people are talking smack about the carrier for three reasons:
  1. Existing AT&T/iPhone customers have to pay $199-$299 to upgrade to the new iPhone.
  2. When the new iPhone is released on June 19, users won't be able to take advantage of MMS (multimedia messaging service—an expanded version of text messaging that incorporates graphics, photos and video clips, among other things). That's because AT&T has to manually remove all "opt-out MMS codes" on each account.
  3. Similarly, AT&T won't support "tethering," which is the ability to plug your iPhone into your computer and use that connection to surf the Internet.
  Reaction to all this news in the Twittersphere was swift. As AT&T's Twitterbot robotically plugged the phone's release, some took AT&T's lack of preparedness as a sign of friction between the carrier and Apple. "AT&T got almost zero mention at the keynote," noted one @MarkSheppard, referring to Apple's iPhone announcement. Most simply moaned about AT&T's ineptitude. "The fact that ATT won't have tethering and MMS is simply a joke," wrote @robertmurray. But perhaps @brickworkz said it best: "People were saying the Palm Pre would be the iPhone killer. ... nope, turns out that AT&T will be the iPhone killer."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Seth Godin doesn't have a Purple Cow over Twitter imposters

Posted on Mon Mar 23 2009

Seth Godin First there was the Fake Steve Jobs, then the Fake Steve Ballmer and there was even a fake version of Adweek’s Brian Morrissey for a while. But perhaps no one in the marketing world attracts as many fake doppelgangers as Seth Godin. Godin does not actually Twitter ("I'd be on it all day," says Godin, who adds that he has had ADD all his life), but he frequently has to contact Twitter to eliminate Seth imposters. There are currently at least two, including Seth_Godin, who has more than 7,000 followers and only one post, which directs readers to a URL where they can get Godin’s ebook Tribes. While that one seems relatively innocuous, a self-proclaimed fakeSethGodin features a Photoshopped picture of Godin (or maybe Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard) extending his middle finger and appears to be a spambot that posts the same three or four updates in perpetuity. "I can’t see why anyone would want to follow him," Godin says.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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