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Semi-naked human billboards: You will never look at #hashtags the same way again

Hashtags are so 2012, but with interesting marketing campaigns by brand companies, hashtags are evolving outside of social media and into the real world — in a good way.

Mark Foster Tanuary

The term “hashtag” was lauded as word of the year in 2012, but it quickly turned into one of the most annoying words of 2013, along with “twerking” and “selfie”. Hashtags are actually useful in organizing information and tracking trends on social media, which had been an advantage enjoyed by Twitter in employing the feature. Facebook more recently enabled trends and tracking through hashtags. And interestingly enough, researchers are also employing hashtags and social media in determining whether time travel exists.

Misuse and abuse has quickly turned hashtags into objects of ire and ridicule, however, especially if they are used in real-life settings and conversations, where the meta-data value does not work anyway.

Still, brand companies are working around this negativity and have started using hashtags in more creative ways. Take for instance Virgin Holidays‘ latest #tanuary campaign, in which British swimmer Mark Foster and a handful of likewise scantily-clad models, have walked in swimwear around London’s Oxford Street, as well as in Glasgow and Manchester, with one character from the #tanuary hashtag painted on their torsos. (Foster is the one with the letter “U”.)

Tanuary Mark Foster

The campaign is actually promoting safe and responsible tanning habits, something that the company thinks is important during this especially cold post-holiday season when people are likely to be booking their summer holidays already. “As the very first Tanbassador for Virgin Holidays I wanted to put a smile back on people’s faces after the festive blow out, along with my human billboard team,” Foster said.

This is certainly a more reasonable use of hashtags than spamming campaigns launched to flood Twitter trends over the holidays to promote adult products.

Source: Mirror News

J. Angelo Racoma
http://racoma.net
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise applications and services. He is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team.

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