Oxford English Dictionary taps into Miley’s twerking

By on Thursday, September 12, 2013

This morning, Billy Ray Cyrus stepped up to defend his daughter Miley Cyrus as the media circus around her continues.

A brand that tapped into this media circus quite nicely recently was the Oxford English Dictionary when it announced that two new words had entered its contents: ‘selfies’ and ‘twerking’.


For the uninitiated (just in case), ‘selfies’ are photographs taken of oneself primarily for distribution on social media and ‘twerking’ is a move made particularly famous by Ms Cyrus, who has has been in the public eye pretty much constantly in the run up to her album launch. Thanks mainly to her recent performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The performance was the subject of international front pages and a social media explosion, the most tweets ever during an event, generating (and I quote her)  “306,000 tweets per minute,” which, as she commented, is “More than the Blackout or the Superbowl!”. And to be fair, apparently she has generated a lot of music downloads on the back of the performance and its subsequent international attention, on social and traditional media. Miley’s performance overtook some pretty big world events on the mainstream news agenda (and it has carried on, with her ‘official response’ being issued last week, and now her dad’s nicely timed comments).

Which is why the news, the day after the awards, that the Oxford English Dictionary entered these two particular words into its hallowed literary pages was so well timed, as it gave the brand access to media channels that otherwise might have been out of reach.

In doing so, The Oxford University Press provided fun content for media such as The Independent – the paper’s site took to the streets to see what consumers thought of the new entries. It also became more than a news story in the likes of the UK press and on the good old BBC, being covered globally by NBC, Adelaide Now and even NME, to name a few.

By reacting quickly and tapping into a big news story (the huge interest in Miley’s twerking, god help us), Oxford University press moved its brand into whole new areas of the media and may well have introduced itself to a much bigger audience.

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