In his chart-topping hit single, Pitbull sings, “Give me everything tonight,” and in return, Twitter users give him, well… an exile to Alaska? Poor Pitbull. The rap star fell victim to the trending of an unfavorable hashtag on Twitter, which essentially is the cause of his “exile” to the Last Frontier.
As part of a PR campaign sponsored by Wal-Mart and Sheets Energy Strips, Pitbull was being sent to play live in either New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami or – the dark horse option – Kodiak, Alaska. The ultimate spot for Pitbull’s performance was chosen based on which location’s local Wal-Mart received the most “likes” on Facebook during the campaign.
David Thorpe of The Boston Phoenix thought it would be funny (and rightfully so) to play around with this campaign by urging Twitter followers to ‘like’ the Kodiak Wal-Mart Facebook page and make the hashtag “#ExilePitbull” go viral, so that the Internationally-known rapper would be sent to the far-off location of Kodiak, Alaska.
Other locations were ready to play too – they wanted Pitbull. Miami News Times began the #KeepPitbull305 trend, which caught some wind, but ultimately was defeated. Due to a storm of #ExilePitbull Tweets and Kodiak Wal-Mart Facebook ‘likes,’ Pitbull will be performing in Alaska.
Although this was unlikely in Sheets or Wal-Mart’s plan for the campaign, the contest caused a lot of online buzz, which is PR for both brands. The joke is really on Pitbull, though, who thousands of social media users have pretty much excommunicated. It’s okay, though, because he’s coping nicely with exile.
Pitbull has responded to #ExilePitbull lightheartedly, both throughout his downfall and now – check out his tweets (right). He also has invited Thorpe to join him in Kodiak. I’m sure the two will have a lovely time together, as long as they pack their parkas and snuggle up.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a Pitbull fan or you are devastated about his exile, this story is a great example of how the online community’s interaction can shape (and possibly disrupt) a social media campaign.
The hashtag has so much power!