I don't have access to the metrics that Land Rover is using to evaluate the process. I honestly don't know if anyone outside of Land Rover will ever know the results. But I can certainly see the reasons for the objections. Quoting Tee Morris again, this is "Social Media without the Social." Land Rover used Twitter as a broadcast medium. They don't seem to have made any effort to allow their theoretical audience to respond via Twitter, or to interact directly with the company using that tool. It was at best a waste of the available power, and it was a bit insulting, as if us Regular Folks on Twitter were not worth talking to directly. They could have done better with some responsive Land Rover account or accounts on Twitter, the public faces of real people inside Land Rover, being retweeted by those paid individuals, or having them give pointers to the primary accounts. At least that would be them talking, not a bunch of unconnected individuals simply parroting the words as if they meant them.
In fact, as I thought earlier today, at it's heart, this wasn't Social Media, this was Social Engineering. If you're unfamiliar with the term, Social Engineering is a set of techniques used by hackers to mislead folks as to their identity, so as to convince those folks to do as they want. The process Land Rover followed tended to give the impression that their hired agents of influence were sincere in their expressions of the value of the Land Rover product. Perhaps they were. But how much of that apparent enthusiasm was for the money rather than for the product?
If the #LRNY process wasn't misleading Social Engineering, it'd be hard to measure the difference in my opinion. As the Senate Ethics Committee has been known to put it, "One must avoid even the appearance of impropriety."
However, there is a chance this idea might have a new life, hopefully better handled. I Tweeted the SVP/GM of the SciFi channel, @CraigatSciFi, suggesting they might use the hashtag #SYFY to promote their upcoming name change. He seemed enthusiastic about the idea, and said he'd passed the idea along to the marketing gang.
It strikes me that SYFY has one lovely and unique promotional opportunity. Podiobooks authors, in particular Science Fiction authors, have repeatedly "rushed" Amazon, by getting their books up to the top of the charts by having as many of their fans as possible buy their books all in one day.
SciFi could do something similar, but with no money involved. Have all their fans start posting with the #SYFY hashtag for one hour prior to the moment when the new name takes effect. See if that combined effort can make #SYFY the top trending topic on Twitter. Doesn't cost anything, it's a totally meaningless and futile, pointless and nihilistic, a truly pyhrric victory. But kinda fun, and just the sort of thing a SciFi fan is liable to want to try. Kind of a nod of respect to the Science Fiction fans that originally made this channel viable.
Now if he really wanted to make this a successful campaign, have a unique reward at the end of the process. Not a drawing; been done, doesn't work well. But how about bringing back a science fiction franchise that's been unfortunately abandoned?
"Firefly" would be my choice. Granted Firefly is owned by Fox, last I heard, but hey, you've got a science fiction cable network, you have the tools to acquire the franchise. And Firefly certainly qualifies as an abandoned franchise, and certainly has an enthusiastic fan base, a "cult following," if you will.
So, here's the idea: Buy the Firefly franchise from Fox. At least you get to run the existing shows on the network. BUT, if the #SYFY hashtag hits the Top Trending Topics on Twitter list on D Day at H Hour, you promise to remobilize the Firefly franchise, either by bringing back the series as such, or by doing what they did with Star Trek, bring out a new series in the same universe.
The channel gets back it's science fiction street cred. The fans get back an excellent series. And Syfy gets to be the first to -successfully- use a hashtag for promotion purposes. Everybody wins. Just sayin'.
So, if you see a #SYFY hashtag out there, you can thank me later. Or hey, blame me, I'm fine with that. I'm a fairly clever idea guy, after all. I told @craigatscifi I'd bill him later. Think I ought to?