ADOTAS – When I first heard about Facebook’s new brand tagging feature, which allows users to connect photos to company pages via tagging, I immediately wondered, how can I abuse it?
What terribly offensive thing could I tag? Though not so offensive that I couldn’t write about it on Adotas… That was the hard part — the brand pages for Vaseline, Slim Jims, Cadbury Creme Eggs and more were right out.There’s so much terrible material out there for a creative yet juvenile mind.
I finally settled on a picture of myself playing bass in a shirt that was not flattering to my pectoral muscles — I tagged my rib cage “Playtex Sport.” I hit “View Playtex Sport photos,” and there was my torso, wrapped tight in an ill-fitting shirt.
I giggled. Then I thought about more devious tags I could add.
In theory, the ability to tag brand pages in photos is awesome for social media marketers. It certainly makes the task of finding brand influencers a lot easier — they come to you. I’m sure some people are wondering, “Who the hell would tag the company that made their shirt in a photo?” Well, a brand influencer — someone who really, really cares.
In our consumer culture, people love wearing clothing covered in brand names, effectively paying to advertise their favorite clothing line. And it’s not limited to fashion — consider the Apple diehards who proudly display all their iGear (while secretly fantasizing about kissing Steve Jobs’ feet).
In essence, such “product placement” is a way to display one’s social class status — I buy this brand so I must make this amount of money and have taste that ropes me into this clique. It only seems appropriate that such behavior would sneak onto Facebook. By enabling it, Facebook has really done brands a favor.
Facebook has considered user privacy concerns, so only public photos will also appear in a brand’s photos, and page administrators can disable brand tagging (the aforementioned brands might want to consider that).
The real worry should be miscreants like me raising havoc. Brand tagging could get out of control very quickly, and it could also be an effective consumer protest tool — imagine environmentalists and other outraged parties tagging pictures of oil-sodden ducks to BP’s page.