Over egging? Humour meets Twitter head on – this time it works

Nick Clegg - Image by the Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg – Image by the Liberal Democrats

Throwing eggs and other bakery related goods is not just confined to Justin Bieber but it’s a bit of a British tradition, with previous Prime Ministers and party leaders not exempt from this form of protest.

Memorable moments such as then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s infamous run in with an egg wielding citizen back in 2001, or more recently, UK Opposition leader Ed Miliband being the target of a spontaneous, politically motivated egging whilst on the campaign trail at a street market in London last year.

Over the Easter weekend UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the butt of many a political journalist’s jokes, was on the receiving end of an apparently well aimed and well timed egging from the UK Opposition Party, the Labour Party, but one with a more contemporary twist.

They celebrated Easter this year by launching their very own Easter Egg, or ‘Easter Clegg’, a festive chocolate bust in the Image of the Deputy PM. The contents of the box are described as being: “full of empty promises” and “guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth”. As well as being “completely hollow” and “100% artificially conservative”.

The launch of their political confection has been accompanied by a twitter campaign, and #easterclegg seems to have been well received by most on twitter. The timing of this PR exercise comes as the run up to next month’s European election builds momentum – for those outside Europe, the UK is …and isn’t part of Europe and the debate goes on…and on….and this move is an attempt to draw attention to the perceived negative qualities of the pro-Europe Deputy PM.

The Labour Party has obviously been paying attention to the power of social media in politics. Last month a picture tweeted by Prime Minister David Cameron generated a lot of unintended media attention after it was successfully, and repeatedly parodied by numerous twitter users.

Such occurrences, whether intentional or not demonstrate the power of humour as an effective vehicle for gaining traction on social media and can be a great way to engage with an audience, or put a human face on an organisation.

There is always a danger for any organisation trying to be funny on social media and the growing casualty list of failed attempts is testament this. Social media has a diverse audience, and humour can often be a polarising form of engagement.

A general rule for most businesses attempting to use humour is to stay clear from political or controversial topics and divisive issues. Clothing brand Kenneth Cole’s widely condemned #Cairo tweet is an example of underestimating the depth of feeling around the issues or events occurring at the time.

In the case of the #easterclegg, it appears to have hit its mark, and for the Deputy Prime Minister, Labour’s depiction of him seemed to resonate on twitter….

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