Amplifying a show’s message with Twitter

Last night we witnessed a highly successful use of Twitter by the campaigning TV show Hugh’s Fish Fight. The show managed to get thousands of tweets directed at UK supermarkets pressuring them to improve the sustainability practices of their prawn suppliers.

In recent years it has become commonplace to see Twitter used as as an informal petitioning tool. Its public nature means that corporations have to sit up and take notice when a larger group of individuals come together to voice their opinion on the highly visible social network.

It was therefore a natural choice for Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Fish Fight to turn to Twitter to put pressure on UK supermarkets to use their buying power to force improvements to the sustainability practices of Prawn farms in Thailand.

This was the message on the Fish Fight website:

What are you prawns eating

Halfway through the show there was a call to action encouraging users to tweet ‘WHAT ARE YOUR PRAWNS EATING’ to three of Britain’s biggest supermarkets, Tesco, Morrisons and The Cooperative. They showed each of the supermarkets’ official Twitter handles on screen so the users knew who to send their tweets to.

Twitter food fight call to action

The result was immediate and marked, the tweet rate for the show jumping to 2.2k tweets per minute:

Tweet graph for food fight

The tweets were split fairly evenly between the three supermarkets, 8,066 to @UKTesco , 6,340 to @morrisonsnews and 6,607 @CooperativeFood

It’s a great example of how social TV audiences can be effectively harnessed to amplify messages and give them a life of their own online.

by Ted Littledale

1 March 2013