PBS launches Big Bird Twitter campaign after Romney attack

PBS launches Big Bird Twitter campaign after Romney attackA savvy and speedy move here by US public service broadcaster PBS after it took advantage of Mitt Romney’s attack on the network during the first presidential debate earlier this week.

During the debate, which set a new record for the Tweeting of a political event, Romney said in reference to PBS that he was not prepared to “to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for”.

His remark sent #BigBird trending and saw a rash of parody Big Bird accounts launched, including @BlGBlRD. Now PBS itself has responded by buying the character’s name as keyword ad campaign on Twitter.

That puts a PBS promoted Tweet at the top of the Twitter stream when Americans search for the phrase Big Bird. It is a move that sees the broadcaster seize a tailor made marketing opportunity and run with it. It is the kind of smart and quick thinking that makes some marketers stand out from the crowd in social media.

According to Mashable the tweet reads: “PBS is trusted, valued and essential” and directs users to check out valuepbs.org. That website gives details of the broadcaster’s reach as well as its public service record. As a riposte to Romney the link also details how much PBS costs each American tax payer and the figure is just $1.35 a year.

As Mashable notes, PBS isn’t the first to use Twitter to take advantage of a political meme”:

“Last month, President Obama’s election campaign team purchased the word “literally” on Twitter after Vice President Biden was criticized for saying it too frequently during his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mashable  report.

PBS Makes Ad Buy For ‘Big Bird’ on Twitter after Romney attack

Sesame Street has also been having a good Twitter campaign. A tweet it sent out in response to the Big Bird story has been retweeted more than 12,500 times.

And despite by general opinion to have lost the first debate to Romney Obama has also weighed in on the Big Bird story and his tweet has so far been shared more than 7,000 times.

As for Romney it is another lesson in perhaps picking your targets more carefully. He is likely to have heavily rehearsed his remarks, but no one on his team could have predicted how the story about a big yellow bird would blow up on him so dramatically.

It has created a storm on social media and given rise to a news story that has spread around the world cutting into Romney’s night of victory narrative in the process.

As not only has the Big Bird story spawned fake Twitter accounts, but there are also videos, photoshopped tributes and fundraising campaigns.

However, these stories can die just as fast as they spring up as social media audiences move on. The question is will anyone be talking about Big Bird a week from now?