As this article is being published, Greg, the mystery security guard at the centre of today’s hottest twitter trend #GiveGregTheHoliday is, by all accounts, still asleep.

What better way to showcase the speed required to make the most of agile marketing? 

As I write this, I’m fully aware of how contrived it is. I’m leaping on a hashtag in an effort to squeeze a few ounces of sweet traffic in my direction, but I’m far from the worst example. 

First of all, let’s recap: Earlier today, Greg Heaslip, a security guard at the Arcadia group, sent an innocuous holiday request. To the entire company:

We’ve all accidentally hit ‘reply all’ in the past, but Greg’s effort was destined for far more than a few laughs in the office.

Thanks to Twitter, #GiveGregTheHoliday has been out-trending the EU elections all morning. 

At Econsultancy we vaguely pride ourselves on our social media agility, and frankly being crammed in a small corner does occasionally lead Team Content to flights of fancy.

Earlier, our Deputy Ed, David Moth, spotted the hashtag and replied to it on Twitter.

The rest of us joined in, and, realising that our London offices sit opposite Arcadia, saw the chance for a bit of pointless fun on Twitter – cue our support for the #GiveGregTheHoliday:

A few dozen ReTweets later and I’m beginning to feel like I can take the afternoon off, my engagement quotient fulfilled, but the story kept growing, with a range of brands leaping on board. 

Firstly, all kudos should go to Trek America. Deciding that this was in line with the brand’s ‘spirit of adventure’, it quickly made the decision to offer Greg a free adventure holiday in the US, flights included:

Ours was an example of a brand being vaguely silly, but hopefully lets people know that yes, actual humans work at Econsultancy, and we enjoy chatting on Twitter to no particular end.

Trek America’s was far more impressive (and generous, although frankly we aren’t sure if Greg would benefit from a subscription package). 

In the wake of their offer, other brands were quick to join in. TopMan, Miss Selfridge, BHS, Burton Menswear and more all offered free additions to help Greg enjoy his trip:

So far, so good. All these items tied in nicely with the trend and conversation. They showed that people working at these brands were watching Twitter, and were able to make quick decisions. “Can we give someone a free gift right now?” Is an easy question, but getting a straight answer is often difficult. Speed is absolutely of the essence. 

Then came the follow-up tweets. Thomas Cook asked if anyone would like to Join Greg in Nevada, but their tweet only included a link to a landing page offering Vegas Holidays.

Yes it’s connected, but it isn’t really in the right spirit, so could come off as a little crass here. And then things started to get weirder. 

By this point, there’s no connection other than: “Shit, something is trending, get on it!”

There’s no consideration about whether it has any relevance to the conversation, so it falls totally flat. We’re aware that our product has nothing at all to do with this, which is why we aren’t firing out tweets mentioning our Real-Time Platform Buyer’s Guide in connection with this. 

Agility isn’t always about selling,. It’s about showing that you’re aware, that you are real people with a sense of fun. There’s an old adage about people buying from people, not brands, and never is that truer than on Twitter. 

Incidentally: Greg, if you're reading this, we recommend you put it all on red.  

Matt Owen

Published 22 May, 2014 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen is a marketing consultant based in London. He was previously Head of Social at Econsultancy and currently runs Atomise Marketing. Opinions expressed are author's own.

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Comments (4)


Andrew Oakley, E-Commerce Manager at TUI Group

And we still haven't heard from Gregg... still asleep.... TrekAmerica

about 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Marketing Consultant at Atomise Marketing

Brilliant - tweet a pic when he's awake!

about 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

What if he was not asleep, but he was actually out canvassing last-minute support for Nige Farage?

about 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

That thought has crossed my mind.

about 4 years ago

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