When I woke up this morning I had a #WhileYouWereSleeping hashtag moment after reading that Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams has died at the age of 63.
As the world’s media look for people who ‘knew him well’ for sofa interviews, finalise their obituaries and monitor celebrity tributes, there’s just one thing I’m interested in today: The Academy.
Eight hours ago it tweeted the words ‘Genie, you’re free‘ to 768,000 followers (and counting), in reference to Williams’ role as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin – and it’s already been re-tweeted more than 196,000 times and favourited by over 130,000.
Throughout Williams’ 35-year career, he was nominated for four Oscars but was always the bridesmaid and never the bride until he teamed up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for Good Will Hunting in 1997 – five years after Aladdin. So, why did it tweet the Genie?
Jumanji, Patch Adams and Hook aside, this was Williams’ iconic role, albeit animated, because he didn’t even have to act. The Genie is Williams – the role was designed for him, not the other way around. And the fact that the film sold well over 25m copies worldwide upon its release is testament to this.
So, now that’s settled, why else was the tweet so successful (apart from being picked up by online superpower Buzzfeed)?
1) Thought leadership
The Oscars are at the top of the food chain when it comes to the movies. The honours are respected, so if The Academy is tweeting to a large audience, everyone takes notice.
2) A picture says a lot of words
The Academy used a striking and emotive image of the Genie with Aladdin. It didn’t feel the need to crop, zoom in or filter. It opted for simplicity and it’s paid off.
3) Straight to the point The simplicity of the image was also reflected in the wording, which captured the essence of Williams without the need for hashtags, weblinks or self-promotion – maintaining The Academy’s classy reputation. So, not only is this the perfect tribute, but also the perfect PR balance.
What do you think of the tribute tweet?