Parody accounts have become a unique way for people to reach stardom. The idea of using someone else’s brand to create your own image is what makes it so unique. We have encountered tons of parody accounts while scrolling endlessly through social media. While we use social media as a platform for entertainment, parody account users are taking advantage of this by establishing a brand that will benefit from the platform and the audience. By doing this, parody accounts have become real businesses.
Accounts such as @MedievalReacts and @student_problems are owned by a European marketing company called The Social Chain. The Social Chain offers its clients (which include Disney, Microsoft and Universal) different packages to reach over 200 million people.The Social Change uses these parody accounts to generate content about their clients. According to their website, The Social Chain “…subtly talk[s] about a product from hundreds of different channels all within the same short time frame, which makes it become a trending topic.” In an interview with Vice, the creator of @MedievalReacts says The Social Chain relies on its over 150 Twitter accounts to share and retweet each other to reach their audiences. Accounts that pertain to certain stereotypes, like @SororityProblems, allow organizations to reach their target market with ease.
Michael Heaven Jr., the owner of The Social Chain, describes the company’s commercial accounts to be “seamless” when advertising content, meaning the advertising doesn’t look like advertising. He goes on to say, “We’ll speak within the tone of the page, we’ll speak as if the page is discovering it for themselves as each of the pages has a personality. So, the things that we mention will be relevant to our target audience.” What he is illustrating is a form of native advertising.
According to the Harvard Business Review, native advertising can be described as “an ad format that must be created specifically for one media channel in terms of the technical format and the content (both must be native to the channel on which they appear and unable to be used in another context).”
John Oliver explains native advertising more in this video:
Oliver focuses on how native advertising and news cannot coexist, but is this true with parody twitter accounts? Is it ethical to disguise advertising as content?
– Nick, Melanie, Mary & Patrick
I did not know that @MedievalReacts was run by a company! I shouldn’t probably be as surprised as I am, but I try to be a little less cynical these days. But, I agree with what you’re saying–if popular Twitter accounts are just advertising without overtly stating it, that seems so sleazy. But, on the flip side, if they started as a sponsored page or an openly-advertising page, I’m not sure it would be as popular. I see it as a double-edged sword, and I think the advertising company has the upper hand (for now).
Before reading this article, I never understood the purpose of parody accounts. I had always wondered if the managers of those accounts benefited financially and now I understand that they serve as a form of advertising and presumably increase revenue for businesses.
Parodies are funny and all, then Dumb Starbucks happens.