Adverts, who needs 'em? These days the smart companies are ditching traditional marketing in favour of bitesize LOLs.
Let's face it, advertising's everywhere. You can't get on the bus, open a magazine or even go on a website (look left, look right - told you) without being force-fed a relentless stream of ISA-depleting products. Give thanks, then, for the hand-picked bunch of marketing renegades of social media. Yes, they're still wearing a corporate hat whilst trying to make you smile in 140 characters, but an independent study (that was made up by us) shows that you're 97 per cent more likely to engage with a brand if they can make you snort when you laugh.
Behold, the 10 best corporate accounts that are genuinely brilliant, and approximately 8,000 times better than your mate Darren Instagramming his tea.
Making toilet paper appealing to the web 2.0 generation is a tall order, but bog-roll brand Charmin stick to what they know on Twitter by keeping it strictly loo based. And judging by their 20,000+ followers, it works, as their childish toilet humour peppered with subtle brand messaging makes them the finest purveyors of shit jokes online. Ahem.
2. Paddy Power
Drifting between the useful (betting odds, news, tips) and the irreverent (a multitude of sporting gags), Paddy Power boasts over 200,000 Twitter followers and are guaranteed comic value when live-tweeting sporting events. Because, let's face it, laughing at millionaire footballers will never not be fun.
For the most part they're bland and inoffensive - tweeting deals and lengthy hashtags about the latest iPhone or a new fangled contract scheme, but in July 2012 O2 somehow managed to endear themselves to the nation while their entire network went into meltdown. With millions of customers without signal, many took to Twitter to spout their rage, but instead of ignoring the hatred or sending heartfelt apologies, O2 thought they'd get a bit silly instead. Good luck to 'em, we say.
4. Arena Flowers
Bored of doling out the self-same guff about deals and discounts like most brands, Arena Flowers thought they'd change tact entirely and inject pure whimsy into their feed. The resulting page is so good, we often forget it's even attached to a flower shop. Well, 'til Mother's Day, that is.
Given their business was launched by a gang of students and their adverts feature talking smoothies, it befits grassroots drink giant Innocent to have a decent online strategy. Though not every tweet is their own creation, they're fantastic at digesting the web so you don't have to, delivering the finest jokes, pictures or the next big meme.
6. The Anchor Inn
A relative minnow to some of the business big hitters in this list, Hampshire's Anchor Inn gives great microcosmic insight into the funny folly of pub life, and deserves a far larger audience than its 800-odd followers. You probably won't make a pilgrimage to Yateley off the back of their drinks deals ("FATHER'S DAY PROMOTION: Get an uncomfortable account of your Dad's past sexual conquests - FREE - when you buy him his eighth pint."), but, you know, next time you're in the area...
7. Mangal 2
No, we don't know where Mangal 1 is, either. Syria apparently, if this hipster-baiting Dalston kebab shop is to be believed. At the cutting-edge of the fiercely competitive 'meat comedy' market, it's unknown whether Mangal 2's regular death threats to its trendy patrons has dented its profits, but it certainly hasn't hurt their hilarious online infamy.
There are loads of character accounts on Twitter. From traffic cones to aeroplane seats, comically personifying an inanimate object can often be the key to a heap of followers. Kia clearly got this memo, as their tweeting car fires out a raft of motor-based gags. Sure, a fair deal of them are pure Christmas cracker fodder, but do bear in mind it is a car. A tweeting car. Not even Herbie could do that.
9. Betfair Poker
Arguably the one that started it all and spawned a legion of imitators (some of which are on this list), Betfair Poker threw out the rulebook a few years ago by randomly tweeting utter nonsense to their followers, and people kinda liked it. You'll be pushed to find the word 'poker' in their feed (aside from their name, obviously), but you will be treated to an awful lot of bonkers musings about bees, crabs and hedgehogs, which is purely comedy gold.
10. The Dolphin
It's not an actual Dolphin, but it is an actual pub - in Hackney - with an unhealthy affinity with Sean Paul, Dane Bowers and some potentially lethal cocktail combinations. So much loved is the account, that when the pub was threatened with having its licence revoked in real life, thousands of its fans signed an online petition to save The Dolphin's bacon - blubber - whatever. Whether Vanilla Ice ended up signing it remains to be seen however, though they did ask.