What happens in Vegas, goes to Twitter

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What happens in Vegas, goes to Twitter

MGM’s new Twitter promotion “Get Rewarded for Your Sins” invites people to “tweet their sins” to #mgmsin. The tweets are displayed on the promotion website, asking viewers to judge the sins as forgivable or unforgivable. In addition, the Twitter feed of sins will be projected onto buildings in Los Angeles at night.

MGM-YourSins-a1A winner is chosen every day for 30 days, and awarded a free night at the MGM Grand, which is great, because you might just need that free night when you get kicked out of the house.

To me, this is troubling on a few levels. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a brilliant concept, but it’s brilliant in that it plays on the inadequacies of human judgment.

Social Media is NOT Private
First, it perpetuates the notion that status updates, regardless of medium, are private. Most people tend to believe that only their friends or networks can see their updates, if they stop and think about it at all. Tweeting one’s sins can lead to a pile of trouble, especially if one does not stop to think that your network will also be seeing this message.

Updates Last a Very, Very Long Time
Second, your network will see this message (Repeated for emphasis). Unless you create an all new account with no followers, someone you know will see your tweeted sin. And it doesn’t have to be live – it can reside on your twitter page and in your feed. Anyone can see it anytime. If you have no problem airing your “sins” on twitter, and the people that follow you have no problem with that, then by all means, this is for you.
social media privacy
Third, the examples that are given on the website provide a unique insight as to what this promotion is looking for. One example is about having a sex dream about a co-worker, the other is about having an affair with a woman in another city. It’s implied that there are some sins that are more sensational (sex) and those are the ones that they want to see. Are those tweets that you would feel comfortable tweeting to your network?

The potential for hearing “too much information” is great for this kind of campaign. There are too many people that have no filter for this type of contest. This brings me to the marketing brilliance of this campaign. Its brilliance relies on the lack of judgment in people.

Who Pays?
If you were to tweet something and it causes problem in the workplace, or at home, or in the worst case, makes the news. The person who tweeted the sin will get the brunt of the judgment and consequence. MGM Grand will get free publicity on the back of any explosive or career-ending fallout.

Brilliance & Risk
And that’s the marketing brilliance of the campaign. No fault, just exposure. No risk for MGM Grand. The ones that express their sins without thought of consequence are the ones taking the risk.

As a marketer, I’m intrigued by this campaign, but I am apprehensive because of the collateral damage to other people’s lives this could cause.

About the Author:

Matt has taught Google employees how to understand and use Google Analytics, consulted with Experian on how to present data, developed online marketing training for both Proctor and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and presented analytics methodologies to Disney, ABC & ESPN. As founder of SiteLogic, Matt teaches marketers how to create measurable and profitable strategic marketing plans.


  1. Jacci October 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Great post! It’s amazing just what people will do to get FREE stuff. Just how FREE is FREE? In this case, it could cost you your job, your marriage, your friends. Is it really worth it?

  2. Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is really an interesting case. Surely a lot of people got in trouble with their friends, family, or coworkers because of something they said here. At the same time, I can see the appeal of wanting to participate and I definitely see the appeal of at least wanting to read what other have said. It’s not just the lack of judgment in the participants that makes this a good viral marketing idea but also the general curiosity of people to look into other people’s lives and exploits. We want to see what kinds of crazy things others have done. So that’s the other draw of publicity here. -Mike

  3. Jason Hommel December 9, 2009 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Once you put something out in cyberspace, it’s there forever. The bad thing about that contest is people will probably lie about a sin they didn’t commit just so they can win the contest. Which is weird, right? Then this “lie” can snowball into something bigger and before you know it, you’re wishing that the prize comes with a new job because your boss read your tweet.

  4. herretoej December 13, 2009 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Really great stuff. Hope the whole system will be very funny. I’ll just Tweet a couple of sins ;).

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