Using Hashtags for Awareness

What is a hashtag? A useless part of Twitter, a tool for categorization, or something that no one really understands but just follows suit? Well DDB New York is taking a well known hashtag on Twitter and turning it into an awareness campaign.

#FirstWorldPains or #FirstWorldProblems are ironic hashtags which people use to describe trivial burdens suffered by those in the first world. People use these hashtags in humour because first world problems, such as having too many food choices or only having water to drink, aren’t really problems at all. Ridiculous as it is, it has become one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter. Yet, from what I understand, the irony isn’t lost on those who use it. Most people are fully aware that these problems are outlandish and that’s what makes it so funny. The problem is, nothing is being done about real problems.

DDB New York has teamed up with Water is Life to create a campaign aimed at raising awareness for clean water around the world. The campaign are a series of videos where impoverished Haitians recite ridiculous #FirstWorldProblems tweets and at the end a sentence reading “#FirstWorldProblems are not problems. Donate to help bring clean water to those in need” is shown on the screen. There is also a video where a Haitian responds to a #FirstWorldProblems tweet sent out by somebody.

Take a look for yourself

I think this is a brilliant move. It takes something that has become so familiar in many people’s lives and shines a new light on it. Many people use the hashtag all the time yet they forget the purpose behind the hashtag. This campaign totally changes that.

What I really love is how DDB New York monitored social media and listened to to what consumers were saying. They realized a trend and spun it in a totally different direction. It shows how diverse of a tool Social Media is to marketers. It can be used, negatively or positively, as part of the feedback loop, can be used as a search for information or opinions, and as shown here, it can be used to generate ideas and identify trends in the market. I think this is a very smart campaign and I think it will become very, very successful.



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