Tim Siedell is the creative director and co-founder of ad shop Fuse Industries in Lincoln, Nebraska. But you probably know of him by his Twitter handle @badbanana. Siedell has made quite the name for himself in the Twitterverse as the guy to follow for regular doses of humor in 140 characters or less. Siedell’s funny tweets have gotten him over 550,000 Twitter followers, landed him on countless “People To Follow” lists and even got Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to credit him for turning Twitter into a comedy venue. Siedell took time to talk with Digiday about Twitter as a comedic medium, getting followers, and having a Twitter persona.
How did you create the Bad Banana persona?
It just sort of happened. When I joined Twitter back in 2007, I did what everyone else did at the time. I chatted with other people. I said what I was doing. I was nervous about putting myself out there, so I didn’t use my real name or photo. I just grabbed a photo of David Ogilvy that I happened to have on my desktop. Over time, I noticed people reacting and responding to my odd little observations or jokes. It was fun for me and people seemed to enjoy it, so I did more and more of it. I didn’t even realize I created a persona until people screamed at me for trying to change out my Ogilvy avatar.
Why was Twitter a good fit?
Working in advertising, I was used to conveying thoughts in short bursts. I spent 16 years writing headlines for ads and billboards and even fast food marquee signs. And as a creative director, Twitter’s update box is exactly what I try to give any creative team. Clear, concrete parameters. Complete freedom within those parameters. And, best of all, no client meddling.
What do you say when people ask you the secrets of getting lots of followers?
I say marry a Kardashian. That helps. Or flame out and get fired from a top sitcom. Other than that, you’re probably going to have to do it the hard way. There are no shortcuts. When people ask me how I got so many followers, my honest answer is one tweet at a time. My advice, though, is don’t be yourself. Be a more interesting version of yourself. Whether you want to be entertaining or be seen as an expert in your field, think of your audience and provide content they would find valuable. Then do it consistently, for a very long time.
What do you think of social media gurus and ninjas?
I think they’re cute. Are they calling themselves ninjas now? I thought they called themselves rock stars. Which is funny, because I’m not sure Mick Jagger even refers to himself as a rock star. It’s amazing how few of them actually excel at using social media. So they’re really just experts on how other people should use a specific medium, which is fine. In social media, I guess that makes you a ninja. In radio, it means you’re a rep selling airspace.
Is being funny on Twitter different from being funny in other media?
First off, funny is funny. But, yes, Twitter has some unique characteristics. The biggest is context. If you go see a comedian at a club, you expect to hear jokes. If you go to your Twitter timeline, you’re seeing news stories, links from friends, and a lot of white noise. Throw one good joke in there and you might make somebody’s day. Also, Twitter is instantaneous. So you can riff on current events almost as soon as they happen.
The ‘retirement’ of M&M spokescandies raises questions about viral marketing, edgy content
Marketers have mixed feelings and questions about the value of viral, stunt marketing after M&M's "retirement" of its spokescandies.
Why digital clutter is driving brands to rethink the value of newspapers advertising
GE, Equinox, Take 5 Oil and agency TBWA New York are among those investing in newspaper ads to generate social media buzz in an ever-more cluttered digital environment.
With TikTok’s growing list of issues, should marketers think twice about the platform?
There is a growing list of issues that TikTok needs to resolve, but marketers seem unfazed and continue to be enthralled by the platform.
SponsoredHow publishers are fighting clickbait ads and protecting audiences
Sponsored by GeoEdge For publishers, delivering an engaging user experience is paramount to ensuring loyalty and safeguarding monetization opportunities. One major revenue channel for publishers is selling programmatic ads, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to control the quality of the ads that come through programmatic channels. As a result, clickbait, offensive and misleading ads are […]
Digiday+ Research: Agencies expect far less ad spend this year, despite increasing services
A survey of agency professionals found that agencies actually don't anticipate significant growth in ad spend this year, even after most agencies increased services in 2022.
How gaming companies like Ubisoft want to expand screen adaption after the success of HBO’s The Last of Us
The rise of video game adaptations is certainly good news for major game developers. To learn how the Ubisoft is taking advantage of the recent explosion of interest in video game adaptations, Digiday spoke to Jason Altman, who has led the company’s film and television division since 2017.