Should The Bronx Zoo Hire @BronxZoosCobra?

6 Apr

Seeing how I have a phobia of snakes, I never would have imagined writing a blog post about one of the deadliest snakes on the planet, but @BronxZoosCobra is a new celebrity in the digital world.

She's A Celebrity

Almost two weeks ago, The Bronx Zoo reported their Egyptian Cobra went missing and they would be shutting down the reptile house until the snake was captured. Even though the zoo made a strong argument for believing the cobra was somewhere in the reptile house, the possibility of them being wrong (and there being a snake on the loose) was newsworthy to social network users and media.

Shortly after a few major media outlets reported the news on this deadly creature being missing, a parody Twitter account – a Twitter account that makes fun of a situation – was created for the Egyptian Cobra. Unlike most parody Twitter accounts, @BronxZoosCobra did not take personal attacks at The Bronx Zoo. Instead, the manager focused the conversation on the snake’s various trips around New York City. Of course, the snake wasn’t really visiting all of these places but the creative individual behind the parody account saw an opportunity to bring a popular character to life and gave it a voice.

The creative content paired with a substantial amount of publicity led @BronxZoosCobra to more than 230,000 followers in less than two weeks – amazing, right?

Last Thursday, The Bronx Zoo reported the capture of the missing cobra and as they expected: she was in the reptile house. Since the actual cobra has been captured, some people do not think the parody account is as relevant any more, especially mainstream media.

If you were the head of marketing/communications at The Bronx Zoo, would you see value in the parody account? Let’s recap this really quick … The Bronx Zoo started tweeting in 2009 and have a little more than 11,000 followers and the @BronxZoosCobra account was created almost two weeks ago and already has more than 230,000 followers.

Hmmm …

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3 Responses to “Should The Bronx Zoo Hire @BronxZoosCobra?”

  1. jasmollica April 7, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Kion,

    I would not hire the person behind the parody account and here’s why: It’s a parody. If a PR or marketing pro even said it was a good idea, I would strongly question their thinking.

    I’m not discounting the person behind the parody account. It was quite funny and entertaining. But that does not mean it will add up to follows for the Bronx Zoo’s real account.

    In some ways, it may create some negative publicity. The Zoo hires someone who lampooned them during a PR crisis? Not good.

    Just my two cents..

  2. Lauren K. Gray April 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Kion,

    I knew about the parody account, but I hadn’t realized it got up to SO many followers!

    I think the Zoo could maybe take some publicity hints from the lost snake/parody Twitter because that is HUGE that it got SO many followers SO quickly!

    This was a pretty big story – no one wants to be around a deadly snake and the Zoo could have probably done more with Twitter and other SM sites to communicate to maybe get more followers and such, but maybe not parody tweets.

    I wish the Zoo had more followers though!

  3. Wilma November 6, 2013 at 10:27 am #

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