Uniqlo gamed Pinterest. You could, too.
Anybody who manages brands on Pinterest (or any social media site) knows that there are undocumented and documented rate-limits and anti-spam measures to consider. For example, most of us know that Twitter has follow limits, tweet limits, search limits, and there are many ways to “trip the wire” with innocent behavior. Twitter Jail is real, people.
Pinterest is no different. Many of us in the trenches have attempted to document the undocumented. We’ve bashed keyboards as innocent brand interactions have temporarily hand-cuffed retail accounts. We’ve tried to reverse-engineer the secret combination that leads some dumb pins to get on a Category pages while other excellent Pins remain invisible… (Some of us have figured it out, but that’s not what this post is about. Besides, it’s a moving target.)
So it was with much titillation that I watched the Uniqlo Pinterest campaign by Firstborn. (video above). I wanna say they “hacked Pinterest.” Technically they gamed Pinterest. (They say they “took it over.”) No matter what you wanna call it, they manipulated stuff, and it was pretty dang cool. Respect.
There are no links I can give you. The living, breathing, unpredictable nature of Pinterest means that there’s a chance no user will actually see anything like this again without the live, rapid fire, repetitive posting by a bunch of people behind the scenes (They admit to 100 accounts. No doubt this actual effect lasted for a very short time, perhaps less than 30 minutes). What they achieved was something Black Hat Internet Marketers do every day- got multiple instances of the same brand on the Category page by having multiple accounts post there at once. Only when Uniqlo did it, it was really, really pretty. :D
Pinterest has suspended accounts for less, though there’s a chance they got a heads up about this Pin storm. Though Pinterest has no self-serve brand services, there’s also a chance there was some bespoke action behind the scenes to even assist Uniqlo and Firstborn.
What I love about this campaign is that it really brings home a point I try to make regularly with people: there are no secret tricks here. Big brands have the same tools and options that you do. In this case they had to make a bunch of “regular” accounts and get creative. Firstborn and Uniqlo used Pinterest as canvas to express a vision. They didn’t rely on the “join the conversation” social media trope.
There’s no excuse to feel limited, go out and make cool stuff!