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Wheat Thins is NOT following me on Twitter (YET!)

As annoying as the new Wheat Thins campaign is, I admit they have the right idea. With the use of social media, Wheat Thins has engaged consumers in a real dialogue instead of one-way advertising messages.

The campaign seeks to reward people’s conversations about Wheat Thins by surprising them in an unexpected and fun way. The ads in the campaign show a team of bright yellow, overenthusiastic brand reps, in a van prominently displaying Wheat Thins’ “The Crunch Is Calling” theme, tracking down and surprising young tweeters who have mentioned Wheat Thins in one of their tweets. Each tweeter is presented with a Wheat Thins gift that ties into the content of his/her tweet. I found myself a little confused at first but we’ve all seen ads for Publishers Clearing House-they are so exciting! Same thing– now with crackers. Many social media prize campaigns go unnoticed, many times because they promise grandiose things and never really show anyone succeeding. [I always wonder about that too.] Wheat Thins is relishing in the genuine hilarity and intrigue of actually documenting the process of gifting their award winners.

The videos, which have generated over 1.2 million views, can be viewed on Facebook ( and YouTube (  Since last year, more than 1300 boxes of Wheat Thins have been sent to people who talked about the product on Facebook and Twitter.

These commercials represent a general corporate migration from traditional advertisement methods to viral advertising through social media. Kraft Foods’ SVP of global biscuits, Mark Clouse said,  “The goal on social media is to make sure our language is coming across as human and not as lawyer- or corporate-speak.”  Exactly!!


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Are you concerned that someone on YouTube is a possible suicide risk?

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one of the most innovative federal agencies to harness social media to safeguard citizens’ health. Sound a little odd?  Social media, as we know,  has proven to be a relevant tool, not a passing fad and is now used to provide health information to support suicide prevention efforts. [As a health communications graduate student, I would love to work for NSPL or another suicide prevention agency someday!] NSPL’s videos on popular social media sites like, and have been met with overwhelming response from people looking for help or a community. It’s not just the information, its the stories that are told. Feeling suicidal is mostly about feeling alone or ashamed, these sites provide support and a dialogue.

For example, NSPL has effectively partnered with YouTube to address circumstances in which a member’s post content promotes suicide or suggests they are at risk of self harm.  Information (and even a little segment by Dr. Phil) is listed in YouTube’s Help section and the video can be flagged for review. has also partnered with the NSPL so that if someone expresses suicidal ideation on the site and their friend reports it to Facebook, Facebook sends the e-mail to the NSPL to read and possibly to respond.

How many friends does NSPL’s have??

•  Facebook – 16,055 people like the Lifeline page
•  MySpace – 5,263 friends
•  Twitter – 3,496 followers and listed 311 times
•  YouTube – 22,610 channel views and 356 subscribers

From:, December 2010.

Not bad!

The anonymity and enormous reach made possible by the web provides new ways of reaching people who need help. However, many people are resistant to making contact by phone and assessing imminent risk is difficult online.  For now, NSPL’s overall social media goal is to provide reputable information related to suicide prevention. They also represent a great model for government and non-profit organizations to “follow.”

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