As you’ve probably heard, one of the snakes at the Bronx Zoo disappeared earlier this week. It didn’t take long for the snake to start tweeting. The spoof account, which you can find at @BronxZoosCobra has over 184,000 followers as I’m writing this, with more followers jumping on board every minute.
While I’ll admit that his tweets are pretty hilarious, a friend of mine did make a good point that it won’t be so funny if the real-life snake actually kills someone before it’s captured.
Still, it’s pretty ingenious the way the snake is replying to people and promoting NYC locations – there’s definitely marketing potential there if whoever is running the account goes that route. Already, business twitter accounts like @HiltonNewYork and @sesamestreet have gotten some snake love, as have locations like Planet Rose in the East Village, where the snake was apparently doing karaoke (White Snake, of course) and Metropolitan Museum of Art, where “The Temple of Dendur really kicks some asp.”
People following the snake probably don’t even realize the advertising going on here. And, to be fair, the person running the twitter account may not realize the potential either. I think it’s really smart, though – and long after the snake is captured, this could continue to be a great way to promote NYC events. As long as the account continues to be funny, people will continue to follow it. As Super Bowl advertisers learned long ago, people respond will to humor.
In my opinion, if it isn’t already being run by someone at the Bronx Zoo, they should approach the person who so ingeniously jumped on the opportunity and work out a deal. This could be a great marketing tool for the zoo in the future – the cobra could even become a spokesperson…er, snake…for the zoo, announcing new exhibits and promoting zoo events. It could potentially mean a lot of new visitors to the zoo, and that means more profits. It’s a win-win situation.
Again, it’s important to note that the actual problem of the missing snake is serious. According to reports I’ve read, cobras make rattlesnakes look like kittens and a snake like this can stay hidden for a long time before traps can work. They can kill a human in 15 minutes. While the zoo asserts that the snake is somewhere in the building, there’s really no way to know for sure (though I will agree that it is highly unlikely the snake would venture out into the cold with all the nooks and crannies in a reptile house to explore instead). So, although talking about the marketing potential for a light-hearted Twitter account is fun, I do want to send my sincerest wishes for a speedy capture of the snake to avoid any injuries or worse.