@Gem_ Reimerswaal

Social Media Hoax 560x268 @Gem  ReimerswaalA few weeks ago three dutch twitter hoaxer  caused a short-lived stir in the dutch media. First they started hyping the #carglasszuigt (‘Carglass Sucks’) hash-tag on twitter. At first no one really noticed. Things really snowballed when one of the pranksters pretended to be a Carglass employee ‘threatening’ them with legal action. This is when the real Carglass knee-jerked.

By basically doing nothing.

The hoax and the media-attention that followed didn’t last very long when the three culprits decided to come clean. A potential crisis had been averted by Carglass. No real harm was done to the Carglass brand. And I think that’s a shame.

I still think they could have handed the whole situation much more creatively. Carglass missed a giant opportunity to expand their brand a little. To prove my point here’s another case.

Gemeente Reimerswaal (Reimerswaal Municipality) is a small municipality in the southwest of the Netherlands. Two months ago a very interesting experiment was launched in Reimerswaal. Citizens and companies seeking information or advice from the municipality could contact a spokesperson through twitter: Gem_Reimerwaal. Gem_Reimerswaal provided the people of Reimerswaal advice on all sorts of topics: where to get certain brochures, when certain road construction projects will take place. You get the idea. To keep everybody informed Gem_Reimerswaal also announced various social and community activities. For the past two months dozens of people have been informed through twitter about the goings-on in their community.

A pretty good service by the Municipality of Reimerswaal, don’t you agree?

No. The person doing all the talking was an independent communications advisor pretending to be an official spokesperson. A hoax. Unlike the #carglasszuigt-prankster he was actually being quite helpful. His tweets were all spot on, informative and friendly. I think it’s hilarious as well as brilliant.

One could argue that Reimerswaal had been asleep at the wheel when some hoaxer took over. Sure, that may be the case. But when they found out they did not chose to ignore the hoax. They also didn’t try to sue the person behind the hoax. They did a pretty smart thing: they hired him.

Perhaps when he’s done the people at Carglass could hire him too?

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