"Why does Sellotape even bother?": the futility of brands doing social media marketing

“Who’s excited for a Bank Holiday sleep in?” tweeted some crisps, recently.

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Social media marketing is a bit like advertising’s embarrassing cousin who wears slogan t-shirts and uses the word “zeitgeist” a lot, in spite of not being completely sure what it means. Its status was confirmed recently when Président Cheese supposedly spent 45 days constructing a tweet about camembert, that ended up with zero retweets.

For a short time, I did the social media marketing for an eyewear designer. I’d spend what seemed like hours agonising over how to make a new end tip (the bit of the frame that goes behind your ear) design sound exciting. So I can sort of relate to those behind Président’s belly flop of a tweet. But, do makers of cheese or glasses even slightly need Twitter accounts? Here are five other companies whose use of social media seems a little bit futile:


Sellotape (@SellotapeUK)

In four years, Sellotape has attained a grand total of 152 Twitter followers. “Why does Sellotape even bother?” is surely an essay question worthy of an A-level philosophy exam paper. Even more baffling, perhaps, are the 28 accounts that @SellotapeUK follows. What’s a girl gotta do to get a follow, @SellotapeUK? For the record, the bio of one of the chosen 28 is, “I’m very boring”.

Here’s how I like to imagine the @SellotapeUK account was conceived (the names are as made-up as the notion that social media marketing is necessary):

“Face it, Martin, times are changing”, says Fraser, Sellotape’s new marketing consultant, “Gone are the days when a man could sell an adhesive tape without, you know… pizazz. You need that x-factor, YOLO – you basically need to be pissing hashtags.”

Sellotape big shot, Martin, arms folded, gazes out over Swindon through the boardroom window. He sighs with the might that only a man with thirty years’ experience in stationery sales, who is now seeing his whole world Tipp-Exed into oblivion, could muster.

“Do it,” says Martin, “FaceHouse, Twattle, YouDude – I want the lot. If this is what it’s going to take to keep Sellotape the nation’s best loved non-glue adhesive, then so be it.”


Vaseline (@VaselineBrand)

With 12.9k Twitter followers, everyone’s favourite lube is doing rather well. Not to mention its 4.5m (I repeat, four and a half million) likes on Facebook. But this leads me to a question of the utmost social importance: who the fuck is following/liking Vaseline?

Is there such a thing as a lubricant enthusiast, and could there possibly be millions of them? Do people masturbate even more than I imagined (and, trust me, my expectations were already high)? Conversely, is corporal dryness a pandemic of Black Death proportions? Whatever the reason is for Vaseline’s social media prowess, they must be doing something right. Maybe it’s all of those pictures of toned women with nice skin moistening themselves. But what do I know?


Zippo (@Zippo)

Yeah. Those lighters that fedora bro-types use to impress women with their ability to make fire happen in vaguely novel ways. Turns out the world’s douchiest lighter manufacturer (yes, there is such a distinction to be made) has Twitter. And with 11.7k followers, they’re in the Vaseline league. What’s more, they’ve tweeted nearly 4,000 times. That’s multiple thousands of tweets about what? Setting shit on fire? According to Zippo’s bio, they offer “musings on manliness.” Here’s a musing on manliness for you, Zippo: “If masculinity is fucking about with flames, then every bored five-year-old at a dinner table is the embodiment of manliness.”


Twitter (@Twitter)

Whoa, meta Twitter. If Twitter’s 30.5m followers are prepared to inflict social media’s answer to Inception upon themselves, then all power to them. I’m not quite sure what to make of the 12m people who have liked Twitter’s Facebook page though. Maybe liking Twitter on Facebook is a way of proudly displaying your bi-sociality. There aren’t just “Twitter people” and “Facebook people”, you know. Get with the times.


Walkers Crisps (@walkers_crisps)

Now, I love crisps as much as the next blogger. All I require from a crisp, however, is a satisfying level of crunchiness. If I wanted my favourite snack to spout niceties at me, I’d have moved into a house made of Play-Doh and shunned reality long ago.

“Who’s excited for a Bank Holiday sleep in?” tweeted some crisps, recently. 

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist.

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