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Eddie Murphy and #SNL40, What the Hell is Going On?

Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 3.53.18 PMIn addition to Eddie Murphy’s disappointing appearance, there were a few other things I found interesting during the SNL 40th Anniversary Special. For starters, I (and countless others) am not a Comcast fan. They ran spots last night promoting their home security services, this is insulting, the thought of Comcast securing my home is asinine, but I digress.


Approximately 23 million people tuned in and other than the Super Bowl, #SNL40 currently stands as NBC’s top-rated prime time entertainment telecast in more than eight years. I took a close look at the ads and examined the social channel and hashtag mentions that appeared at the end of the spots… “it’s the fashionable thing to do… so let’s do it.”


IT’S OFFICIAL! Major advertisers don’t have a clue how hashtags work or they’re too scared to use them correctly. Most advertisers would be better off not including them at all. Hashtags create an opportunity to group and engage consumers, but last night State Farm, Swiffer, Snickers and T-Mobile just kinda throw them in there as tags.


State Farm used #DoubleCheck for their Hanz and Franz spot and didn’t include a hashtag on their “Never” spot. Why would someone on Twitter use the hashtag, #DoubleCheck? Why isn’t State Farm using one hashtag for all their spots to maximize traffic? T-Mobile used different hashtags in different spots… “#WTF”?


MasterCard’s Gwen Stefani ad used the hashtag, #PricelessSurprises. Again, what’s the motivation for using this hashtag? Same for Snickers’ #EatASnickers,’s #GetARoom and Swiffer’s #SwifferEffect… the only tweep (Twitter user) using the #SwifferEffect hashtag is @swiffer… #SwiffBeforeAndAfter might motivate consumers to show how much better their floors look after ‘Swiff’ sessions. If consumers don’t take the initiative then advertisers should include an incentive, “#SwiffersUnite! Share cleaning tips with other Swiffers, send us feedback and show us before and after photos of your squeaky clean floor… at the end of the year one lucky Swiffer will win a trip to Disney World.”


Equally confusing are the spots that didn’t utilize a hashtag, the commercials promoting NBC shows in particular. Live tweeting during podcasts and TV is popular! It creates communities, Twitter bonds and engages viewers, but not once did NBC flash #SNL40 or offer a hashtag for shows they were promoting: The Night Shift, The Tonight Show, One Big Happy, The Voice, The Slap, Undateable and The Blacklist to name a few. #SNL40 was trending, but how many more users could NBC have engaged if they had flashed the hashtag just once?


NBC-owned, E! Entertainment Television ran a spot promoting their show, The Royals and used the hashtag, #TheRoyals. E! uses hashtags… NBC does not… why?


Some advertisers didn’t offer anything, no website addresses, hashtags or social links: Old Spice, McDonald’s, Budweiser, Android, TurboTax, Yoplait, Nokia, Chase, General Electric and Olive Garden. I was surprised TurboTax didn’t list their domain… it being an online business and all. Auto makers Dodge and Audi withheld their website address… Acura, Toyota and Volkswagen listed theirs.


All advertisers misused hashtags… most didn’t use them at all… some listed a website address… others didn’t… some included social icons… others didn’t. In a prime time advertising space… the approach was all over the map… even in common industries.


Obviously advertisers want to avoid the McDonald’s #McDStories hashtag disaster, but if you look at the ads from last night as a collection… it appears several agencies are lost and lack the ability to execute a cohesive multi-channel campaign while utilizing contemporary communication tools.


Is their strategic reasoning for the inconsistencies? What do you think?


PS: In Eddie’s defense, he said he’s not planning another comedy special like Raw because he doesn’t want to spend a year in small comedy clubs practicing. As an entry-level comedian, I respect his regard for the craft, but he could have done better.


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