Jan. 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM ET
Lady gamers with offspring may hate EA's "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2" viral video campaign, which features the horrified reactions of mom stereotypes watching scenes from the third-person shooter sequel. But Twitter users are eating it up — and shilling the game for free — via today's Promoted Trend #yourmomhatesthis, revealing just how quickly marketers adapt.
As with viral videos and LOLCats, there is nothing the Internet's hive mind can create that those looking to make money or spread the word won't co-opt.
Coca-Cola and Pillsbury jumped on organic hashtag games last year soon after Twitter added Promoted Tweets — paid tweets that appear at the top of some Twitter search results.
As users shared #alliwant, Coca-Cola asked "#alliwant is #happiness. What about you?" in a Promoted Tweet that appeared at the top of the #alliwant Twitter search.
General Mills-owned Pillsbury doubled up with #alliwant and the also-trending, #lemmeguess. "#lemmeguess You're craving something sweet! Satisfy your afternoon sweet tooth with chocolaty Sweet Moments!"
"Dead Space 2" takes it to the next level with Promoted Trends — paid-for words or phrases that appear ahead of the top trends people are tweeting about pretty much of their own free will. While Promoted Trends (which reportedly cost tens of thousands of dollars for advertisers) are clearly demarcated, they are also successful in spurring conversation, and thus employing Twitter users as free advertisers — which some find problematic.
It’s not just that the word "promoted" may not make it entirely clear to users that it’s an advertisement (though hovering their cursor over the word shows a small bubble saying, in this case, “promoted by Disney/Pixar”). It’s that promoted trends aren’t just ads that sit at the bottom of the topic list — according to Twitter, they will actually rise up the list of topics just as other, real trends do, or possibly fall off and disappear from the list, based on the company’s view of how much they “resonate” with users.
With 101 retweets and growing, @deadspace sits, clearly demarcated as a sponsored tweet, at the top of the #yourmomhatesthis search results: "Moms watch some of the most brutal, violent scenes that Dead Space 2 has to offer: http://bit.ly/eJkwGM does #yourmomhatesthis ?"
Underneath, the quips pile up, with examples of things your mom hates, most blithely unaware that this tweet game is helping promote "Dead Space 2":
#yourmomhatesthis--->Your not following her on Twitter & your Ignoring her invite on facebook.
The woman next door asking daddy to come and fix something.....#yourmomhatesthis
#yourmomhatesthis YOU: for being such a tremendous disappointment.
Meanwhile, this tweet from the ominously-named Twitter account @Anon13502, seems to know what's going on: