The Twitter RFP: Gimmick or Game Changer?

Some gimmicks touch on real issues. Whether intentional or not, they get businesses talking and can create industry-wide change.

Last week, Aloft Hotels, a unit of Starwood of Hotels, announced its search for a new PR agency. This is the type of news that gets the agencies buzzing – fresh meat. Traditionally this announcement would be met by private responses from agencies around the world, some qualified and others hoping to land that big account that will headline the “Clients” page on their web site.

In an interesting move, Aloft made its request for an RFP via Twitter:
Aloft is also posing questions for the first round of the RFP that need to be answered via Twitter; throwing open the process to anyone who wants to follow along. (You can follow along at #RFTweet.) This move makes a traditionally private process public and opens the agencies up to scrutiny from peers and gawkers.
As the agencies began tripping over each other to prove their online savvy, at least one blogger is cleverly analyzing Aloft’s move similar to the review of Guy Fieri’s latest restaurant opening by Pete Wells of The New York Times.

Others such as Adage see this tactic as a way to build buzz around Aloft’s brand while pumping up their Twitter following.

Regardless of Aloft’s intentions, people have taken notice. It will be interesting to see if this gimmick has the strength to go to the next level and make the PR agency RFP process more transparent.

What do you think about Aloft’s tactic? Is it a gimmick or a came changer?


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