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Megan Thee Stallion, Patrick Mahomes, and Issa Rae predict their success in new Twitter ad campaign

Old celebrity tweets predict their success and illustrate the cultural power of Twitter’s platform.

Megan Thee Stallion, Patrick Mahomes, and Issa Rae predict their success in new Twitter ad campaign

It’s a story as old as the time. Family or friends, childhood neighbors, or teachers of a sports star or famous actor remember that person saying they would one day achieve the level of success they now enjoy. Of course, it makes for a great story, but one could never tell how much of it was simply hyperbolic hindsight.

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A platform like Twitter changes all that. On December 3, 2018, Canadian actor Simu Liu tweeted out, “OK Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi.” Fast-forward to 2021, and there he was starring in the year’s biggest movie. Now that tweet is a billboard in Toronto, as Twitter launched a new ad campaign that illustrates the unique power of its platform to predict the future. Across eight different cities, old celebrity and sports star tweets are surfaced and turned into billboards, including Megan Thee Stallion in Houston, Liu in Toronto, and Issa Rae in Inglewood.

The campaign also includes NFL stars star Patrick Mahomes and Leonard Fournette, artists Demi Lovato and Niall Horan, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, as well as director and producer Matthew Cherry. The tagline, “Tweet it into existence,” is a call to action for all the yet-to-be realized dreams out there. As part of the campaign, Twitter is donating nearly $1 million to charities of the stars’ choice on their behalf, including Boys and Girls Club, Destination Crenshaw, The 3-D Foundation, and Unicef Canada.

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Here Twitter is really tapping into both what makes it unique as a largely open, public forum of a social network, as well as one of the most coveted, sought-after, and valuable attributes of any advertising: Aspiration. Car ads want you to aspire to driving that sedan in Sedona. Nike wants you to aspire to be your best athletic self. Realtor apps want you to aspire to that Big Boy house. For Twitter, it’s a very public declaration of self-belief. If you can tweet it, you can be it.

Of course, as heartwarming as these celebrity tales are, Twitter’s probably more famous for how old tweets have come back to haunt people. Like the time James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy franchise in 2018 for offensive tweets almost a decade earlier. (He’s since been hired back.) An ESPN analyst was fired last summer over since-deleted tweets from 2012 containing offensive anti-gay slurs.

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This new campaign is a ballast against that flashback negativity, even featuring a handful of everyday people who tweeted out their career or personal goals before realizing them.

As so much of our public discourse has devolved into divisive name-calling, trolling, and harassment, leading many to not-so jokingly label the platform a hellsite. Twitter is clearly hoping it can strategically mine enough positivity to shift its brand image away from doom-scrolling toward more dreams come true.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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