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The Social Chain, Deliveroo and 'meme marketing' - is it spam or just clever marketing?

The Social Chain, Deliveroo and ‘meme marketing’ – is it spam or just clever marketing?

As I write this, Twitter is currently under siege with Tweets mentioning Deliveroo – the online takeaway delivery service.

Here’s the Timeline from showing the huge increase in mentions for today:

Deliveroo Twitter mentions from Keyhole

That’s a pretty big jump!

So what is happening here?

It seems that a social marketing agency called The Social Chain is working on a campaign to promote Deliveroo across Twitter, using either popular Twitter accounts that they own and manage, or potentially paying the owners of popular accounts to Tweet about Deliveroo (I should point out that there is no evidence of any Twitter users being paid to Tweet).

There’s no links or @handles used in the Tweets, just a plain and simple mention of Deliveroo – with the aim being to rack up the number of Mentions, Retweets and Replies to get the word ‘Deliveroo’ trending across UK Twitter.

Here’s a sample of some of the most popular Tweets from today:

This is obviously a well organised and carefully orchestrated campaign, and so far it looks to be working – Deliveroo is currently ranking in the top 10 of UK Twitter trends, on a day when the Chilcot report was released, Pokemon Go was announced (big news apparently!) and Wimbledon is hosting some epic matches.

As you can see from the examples above, and from just a quick scroll through the trend results on Twitter, a huge proportion of the ‘Deliveroo’ Tweets are coming from meme accounts.

These accounts regularly post highly specific, topical and sometimes quite funny memes in order to build up large follower numbers – which can then be leveraged to promote brands.

The Medieval Reactions page (@medievalreacts) for instance, has almost half a million followers on Twitter. That’s a huge amount of potential Retweets that can be harvested for commercial gain.

Although I can’t be certain, I know that The Social Chain own a lot of these meme accounts (background reading) and use them solely for commercial purposes.

The question that must be asked then, is whether this practice is actually spam – or if it is just clever ‘influencer marketing’ (their words)?

It can certainly be argued that the mentions across Twitter that this campaign is creating are not ‘natural’, and Deliveroo’s resultant appearance on the Trending Topics has therefore been manipulated for commercial gain – which seems to me to be the very definition of Twitter spam.

However, the meme accounts The Social Chain own and operate are all very successful and popular in their own right – despite them giving each other a bit of a leg-up now and then, they still attract a lot of ‘natural’ engagement. So it could be argued that The Social Chain have contributed to the overall experience of Twitter enough that running a campaign like this should just be seen as an extension of that, rather than outright spam?

What do you think, is this form of ‘meme marketing’ spam or simply a case of clever ‘disruptive marketing’?

Is meme marketing spam or clever marketing?

Clever marketing

make quizzes


  • This is spam, plain and simple. If someone keeps talking about something over and over again without you wanting them to, then it is spam. This is poor judgement by Deliveroo and I’m not quite sure who these Social Chain guys are but this method of advertising is absolutely awful, unethical and actually will seem to alienate people.

    • The volume of mentions you see in the first image are coming from the followers of the larger accounts ‘social chain’ accounts, and their followers, etc. enjoying and engaging with the content. The actual tweets from the larger accounts mentioning Deliveroo are few, and from what I can see, often are just made to jump on the bandwagon of something relevant to keep their audiences happy and engaged. I struggle to see how it’s unethical or alienate people.

      If people didn’t enjoy the content, they would unfollow or not have as many followers surely?

  • Trust me. They own, operate and pay for these. It’s the worst kept secret in Manchester. They pay with money and there are contracts. It’s just that this one is so lame, you wonder if the influencer account owners are almost protesting with the lameness of the tweets.

  • This has been re-investigated by Buzzfeed and there are a number of articles online which talk about all the spam methods they use. The most popular one being, getting all their accounts to retweet each other, so if you actually analyse all the retweets from their so called high audience twitter accounts you’ll see that vast majority of the retweets are from their own pages. LOL. The company claims they can reach over 200 million people, yet their social media pages operate in the UK which population is 65 million, even if they did have some European followers, Europe’s total population is 700 million, so are you honestly telling me that they can reach 1/3 of Europe, yet they get about 30 retweets average on each of their posts. Yeah, something doesn’t add up here does it… Based on their activities like the continuous retweeting their own pages hundreds and thousands of times they have obviously takes a small group of followers and spread them across all their channels, the rest of their followers are either fake accounts or bots, you can even tell this when you look at the CEO’s Twitter and their Company twitter page, so lame.
    Then when look past their social proofing tactics, you can start to pick up on their actual marketing tactics and oh god are they bad! I don’t really know where to start but the content they post is just cringe and plain annoying! It’s all clickbait I think I would get more engagement pleasure with a pop up computer virus.
    When speaking to the agency I was told their starting packages were from £20,000 and up to £150,000… Not sure if this article should be renamed to the “Is it Spam or Scam?”. I think this company has given a very bad name to social media marketing and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has lost trust with the naive “big brand” names working with them. Yeah Deiveroo, won’t be buying from your click bait site again…


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