Among the host of advertisements seeking to make an impact during the Super Bowl last night perhaps it was Esurance which made the biggest waves on Twitter, with its promise to give away $1.5 million to a random person who tweets the hashtag #EsuranceSave30 by 3 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Needless to say, Twitter was flooded with messages including this hashtag, whether they were related to the ad or not – after all, each tweet that includes the hashtag is considered a separate entry into the contest, ensuring that people will give Esurance extra pub on Twitter throughout the day (as of this writing it ranks 2nd among Twitter trends in the U.S.).
What struck me as odd this morning, however, were the number of tweets I saw which were referencing an account that was seemingly tied to the contest:
This @EsuranceMillion account issued its first tweet at 12:14 a.m. Eastern Monday morning, hours after the Super Bowl had completed, and after just a few hours was already surging past the 60,000 followers mark.
The problem is, it’s pretty obviously a fake account. Besides the timing of that first tweet (which misspelled the hashtag), it’s also an unverified account that is using old marketing imagery as its profile picture. Its messages include prompts for people to RT and follow that account, even though that’s not mentioned in the giveaway’s official rules as a means of entry into the contest (note: you should follow @Esurance, as they’ll DM you if you win).
That won’t stop people from jumping on board, however, lured in by the hope of winning $1.5 million just by sending out a few tweets. I just checked again, and that account now has more than 68,000 followers. People are retweeting and mentioning this account like crazy, and as the Twitterverse gets rolling here on Monday morning, the word is spreading like wildfire.
For some enterprising scam artist, they just hopped on board the Super Bowl’s marketing juggernaut to create a social audience that can eventually be used for any number of different ends (distributing malware, spamming ads, etc.).
Well played, scumbag. Well played.
UPDATE: Sure enough, now that the account has over 100,000 followers, we’re seeing it RT messages touting methods to remove belly fat and how to find “hidden nudity in Disney movies”. I’ve reported this account for spam to Twitter, now why don’t you go do the same?