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Too Bad You’re Not Robert Downey Jr.

By April 19, 2014February 25th, 2021Destroying Conventional Wisdom


On Monday morning, April 21, 2014, I’m quitting social media marketing. Well…sort of. The reason being is that social media marketing as we have come to know it, is dead. There, I said it. Throw stones if you want, at least I’m honest.

You can hire the best agency on the planet. Go ahead and retain the most recommended consultant on the market. Buy every piece of software that spits out as much data as a NASA command center. Go to every dog and pony conference. Buy every book. Attend every webinar. Watch every video.

And you’ll still never, ever, not in your brand’s lifetime, generate as much engagement as Robert Downey Jr. did on his very first tweet.

Why? Because no one cares what a brand has to say. Not even if they post pictures of an airplane crash landing in a woman’s vajayjay. Sure, there will be the customary uproar on Twitter and then the mainstream media gets a hold of it, and like USAirways did, you wait it out and in a few days, it’s business as usual.

No one cares. Think I’m wrong? Check the 7 day history on American Airlines stock. They’re up 40+% year to date! [as of the date of this post] (hmm…makes me wonder if a Twitter #fail is the new insider stock tip…just sayin)

The bottom line is this. The disgusting tweet by USAirways mattered not. They didn’t even fire the person who published the tweet. Social media screw ups are now common place. Even the White House and President Obama make mistakes.

In the apology economy, you simply say you’re sorry and move on. No one cares!

Now let’s get to the reason no one cares. It’s very simple. Most brands just aren’t that interesting. For every Red Bull, a brand that truly gets it, there are tons of brands that are simply tossing cigarette butts out the window that they refer to as content.

When you look at Red Bull’s home page you can clearly see why what they do works and why most brands will never resonate on social media. A recent view of their page shows prominent featuring of the Coachella music festival and content highlighting motorsports, BMX, surfing, skating, music, adventure, esports, games, snowboarding.

You know…the stuff that their audience actually DOES care about. I don’t care what your brand is. Your audience doesn’t care. They don’t care that you have the sweetest candy, they don’t care if your hotel has the best valet service, they don’t care if the furniture you sell is made from wood carved by elves…(wait a minute, that might be cool)…just accept it, they just don’t care!

Almost all of social media marketing is nothing more than mental masturbation. You’re buying into agency pitches and social gurus and people who have self-preservation at the forefront of all they say. For if they told you the real truth, they would tell you that which has the most reach and success on ALL of the social networks, is sports and entertainment.

People care about having fun. They care about the environment. They are passionate fans…of something. They are ardent advocates of what they believe in. They want to be acknowledged and they will respond in-kind.

So when Robert Downey Jr. joins Twitter and gets 135,000 engagements on his very first tweet, you have to ask yourself some very hard questions. I would start with this one.

Are we giving people what they want, how they want it, and when they want it?

If you can’t honestly answer that question, then you’re completely wasting your time and money on social media marketing. I already know that most brands aren’t doing that. They still hold steadfast to the misguided notion that they control the message on social media.

Which is why they get crappy results. Controlling a message that no one cares about isn’t impressive. It’s laughable. Makes you wonder how the CMOs and the suits keep rewarding mediocrity.

Me, I’ve had enough. So Monday, I’m going in a totally different direction. I’m focusing solely on giving people what they want. I think you can probably guess what my focus will be.

Hey Robert Downey Jr., talk to you soon bud!

Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

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