The cobra, which had a tank and a name tag at the panelists table but wasn’t actually present, didn’t have much to say. The humans on the panel, Esty Gorman and Grant Hunter of Iris Worldwide, Michael Logan of Next Media Animation and Remco Marinus of Lemz spoke about advertising (and showed off some creative ads). They were a little less scaly than the cobra.
Gorman spoke on behalf of the Egyptian Cobra, which is the second-most followed animal on Twitter with more than 200,000 followers (I have no idea who the top followed animal is). The audience was tweeting questions to the cobra. The snake is only 20 inches long, but deadly, and when she escaped from the Bronx Zoo a year ago, she made worldwide news.
The cobra did an “interview” on the screen (with snake-to-English translation). She said she gained 200,000 followers in six days and managed to tweet despite lacking hands.
Gorman said “newsjacking” allowed this story to go “really, really viral very fast.”
Newsjacking, which is a PR/advertising term that I hadn’t heard until this SXSW, apparently means using social viral ability to “create” a news-like event or run parallel to a news story, just like the Twitter account for the snake did.
Iris created an event called “Urgent Genius Weekender,” which challenges people to create compelling content in 48 hours (mainly ad campaigns).
An audience member asked how they consider this “news,” since it’s mostly advertising satire. She said, “Newspapers are usually much more serious,” and wondered if any of them had even been sued for libel or slander. They said they’d never been sued for that, but didn’t really answer otherwise (plus, newspapers could/should have more fun).
The panel itself showed off some fun content, including some great ads, but the snake was the draw. Let’s hope she has an after-party.