Have you heard? There’s a new Top Gear!
After what seems like a rollercoaster of decisions, rulings and debate, the new series of Top Gear took to our screens this bank holiday weekend to a flurry of
critical acclaim criticism from a majority of viewers – and media. Most were focussed on the specific individuals now presenting the show, with a rift of opinion dividing Mat LeBlanc (I must stop calling him Joey) and Chris Evans, with most favouring the former.
I however remained – unusually – more impartial on the situation, claiming the show simply lacked lustre and engagement, failing to capture my attention on a show which I would have previously planned an evening around.
This post however is less about my thoughts on the broadcast itself, but rather the effects of a simple tweet…my tweet.
Having watched a small portion of the show, I could take it no more (for reasons I won’t air here) and with it I posted a simple tweet. In all honesty it isn;t even that funny or witty compared to many other which followed it, but the ensuing success proves that even above great content, timing is everything.
This was the tweet:
— Felix Hemsley (@FelixHemsley) May 29, 2016
As you’ll see, this was just over half way through the show. Conversation was heating up as people began to accept the reality of what they were seeing. Thankfully, this was one of the earliest posts to use a visual reference to how I felt, others simply posting disgruntled text based tweets. So combine a lucky bit of timing with some visual content and voila, success. As I started to see the numbers rise I was please, but then a realisation that this was gaining true traction set in, but for what…? I have since seen so many posts which have had me laughing out loud, capturing the true emotions and culture of the web much better than I had, but they missed the boat, especially when it comes to online publications picking up on these things to post reactive articles, which is what followed.
Friends started texting and Whatsapping(?) me about how I’d been picked up at first by the Lad Bible who frames this as “How Twitter Reacted To The New ‘Top Gear'” and then later by The Telegraph, including this as one of the “23 Funniest Tweets” and again since. An so it continues, even 3 days later via IMGUR, with time ton search for much better material, it is still that content which was published quickly and with moderate quality which has captured the eyes of many – or maybe I’m just more humorous than I realise…unlikely.
I realise this works because I am a person, not a brand, but brands who do play reactively have managed to gain the mandate to be playful like consumers because they share values and the tone at the right time, as part of the conversation. So maybe, rather than debate by committee on every topic, we should be more free in how we ‘play’ – at best we get shared with thousands and showcased, at worst, we get forgotten about by never being seen.
Whatever your approach to timely communications and alignment to live events, being first is as critical as it ever was in a publishing house, as everyone on Twitter is now one of those publishers, vying for the same eyes.
Written by Felix Hemsley – Senior Account Director