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Be Nice. Get Coal.

This is a story about finding the nicest people on Twitter and promoting charcoal sales through the Winter. And yes, the hashtag is #benicegetgoal.

It's also about a creative team facing a challenge that reoccurs annually around this time for good reason.

And it's about advances being realized in social media analytics, like scoring tweets for "positive sentiment."

And it's about a search through 100 Billion tweets for the nicest person.Image

You see, there ain't much grillin' going on during the cold, rainy, frozen season. So charcoal sales of Kingsford Charcoal (owned by Clorox) tend to fall off sharply as the December holidays roll around.

Then came an AHA moment seemingly inspired by the convergence of the song, "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" and that age-old threat to young kids, "If you're not nice you''re gonna get coal in your stocking."

Now, at the risk of appearing to take part in brand promotion (I'm not, really), I quote the description sent to me by Molly Borchers of Geben Communications:

Geben works with Sysomos, and they recently partnered with Kingsford Charcoal to find the nicest average Joe on social media by sorting through more than 100 billion tweets from the US and Canada in 2012. Engineers wrote a unique script to analyze who tweeted “please,” “thank you,” and “thanks” the most often during the past year. The algorithm also took into account tweeters who cursed very little and had an overall “positive sentiment” score.

A few more details: After analyzing the tweets, Sysomos found that Waukesha, Wisconsin resident, IT professional, and part-time wine blogger Clifford Brown is the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012. Clifford’s “nice score” was off the charts for 2012: he tweeted using the words “please,” “thanks” and “thank you” for a total of 1,574 times this year! To reward Clifford for his good deeds over the past year, Kingsford presented him an early Christmas present -- a year’s supply of Kingsford charcoal, a grill and grilling tools. (Learn more about the contest here.)

This got us wondering: If Kingsford Charcoal can use Sysomos to mine this kind of data, what other information can brands discover? What does this mean for other brands?

Indeed. One can imagine many similar applications for this process. The point being, there's plenty of room for creativity in the space created by social media technology, but you, my friends, have got to bring the inspiration and creativity to it.

PS, the initiative, operating through #benicegetcoal, is not over. People are invited to nominate their own version of the nicest average Joe or Josey. 

The background of this article came largely from a phone interview of Sheldon Levine of Sysomos and Anne Hallock of Kingsford/Clorox.

Join The Conversation

  • 40deuce's picture
    Dec 24 Posted 4 years ago 40deuce

    Thanks for this great write up, Cliff!

    We were really excited about this project and it's great to know that others loved it as well.



    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos & Marketwire

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