At the beginning of the World Cup, bookie William Hill had a stroke of genius: it would sponsor a hashtag on Twitter. The hashtag in question was a familiar phrase in English football circles, and it would soon become ubiquitous once more: “It’s coming home.”
A reference to the popular footie song from 1996, It’s coming home soon started making the rounds: memes, videos featuring the music, featuring all over magazines, papers, and social media. That last one is the one that counted for William Hill.
Every time someone wrote #ItsComingHome on the platform, their tweet was transformed into a William Hill advertisement. Given that the hashtag appeared tens of thousands of times, William Hill – which offers an online gambling service – was suddenly plastered all over Twitter at the height of Football fever.
That’s an example of the incredible power of social media when it’s done right – William Hill received an unbelievable amount of publicity, and Twitter makes it easy to get to the service – just click the link.
However, not everyone was as happy about it as William Hill presumably was. For one thing, despite their incredible popularity, we’re still discovering how we should regulate advertising on social media. When tweeters like the Beano (a kids’ comic) and the World Wildlife Fund (an international charity) started using the hashtag, a problem emerged.
Twitter’s policy is to let people over 13 have accounts. And now, a huge number of the people these children followed were inadvertently tweeting bookmaker adverts at them! In a statement, William Hill’s head of social, Richard Bloch, said:
“We began a Twitter campaign at the start of the World Cup which kicked off in early June. The hashtags we chose were purposefully selected to run alongside our World Cup marketing campaigns and were aimed at our core demographic.”
“With England progressing to the semi-finals the William Hill branded emoji that accompanied the #itscominghome has now been switched to an unbranded St George’s cross – let’s hope they can bring back the World Cup.”
An unfortunate situation – but one, thankfully, that was swiftly rectified. And, if nothing else, it demonstrates just how powerful owning the right hashtag can be for your business!