It started with a tweet.
To launch the Samsung Galaxy S8, we asked new GS8 owners to show off the camera by sharing the first picture snapped on their new phones. They responded with glamour shots, ‘gram worthy landscapes, pet pics and more. But of course, social media trolls replied, too. One in particular.
@SavEdward sent us a gross tweet: “It was a dick pic.” Thankfully, he didn’t attach proof. Twitter had become a hostile environment for the brand after the Galaxy Note7 recall, so we couldn’t let this go. This was our chance to stand up for anyone who’s ever received an unwanted picture. Within minutes, we responded with a savagely simple reply: The microscope emoji.
We knew the one-character tweet was a clever retort, but we didn’t predict the viral sensation that followed: More than 80 news stories worldwide — all from a single emoji.
We had already identified that we could rebuild trust with our community by being “real” and transparent after the Note7 recall. After all, millennials expect more from brands; they’re drawn to those that take risks and feel human. Our strategy had become confronting negativity head on, in real-time.
Unfortunately, you never know what the Internet will serve up next. So we stacked our team with community managers and strategists who not only deeply understood Twitter, but could act on the unexpected quick. They knew what to look for, and how to react to it with brevity and incisive wit.
The moment itself happened rapidly. Our community managers spotted @SavEdward’s tweet in real-time and quickly shared it with our war room team. We came up with the emoji reply in under a minute and, 20 minutes later, we hit publish on the client-approved tweet.
The reaction on Twitter was swift and positive, reaching “escape velocity” by the evening thanks in part to the troll’s embrace of our reply. He captioned a screenshot of the interaction with “Samsung roasted me” and an emoji of his own: The tears of joy. News coverage hit the following morning with zero PR outreach, sustaining organically over the next several days.