Captain Obvious doesn't like Twitter telling him he's not real. Even though, you know, he's technically not.
Like many avid Twitterers, he's on a quest to be verified by the network. But Twitter is not yet budging, despite the character's months of campaigning. Twitter certainly doesn't seem opposed to verifying brand icons, as you can see from the fact it gave the check mark to Mayhem, Jake From State Farm and even a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Invented last year by Crispin Porter + Bogusky as a campaign centerpiece for Hotels.com, Captain Obvious has been the star of a multichannel effort to point out the obvious things in life (like, say, where to book hotels online).
To boost the captain's legitimacy, CP+B has been pushing for Twitter to verify his account, which has amassed more than 216,000 followers and has recently commented on everything from the GOP presidential debate to National Punctuation Day.
His campaign for verification is now several months along, with no official validation to show for it.
Even if verification doesn't come around for the captain, chasing the ever-elusive check mark hasn't been a total waste of time. It's sparked conversations for Captain Obvious with high-profile supporters and even competing (but verified) brand icons like Cheetos' Chester Cheetah and Travelocity's Roaming Gnome.
"It's a fun way to play with the medium," said CP+B creative director Brian Friedrich. "So Twitter, they have their rules, they have their things. ... If you always play it safe, people can get used to that from other brands and other places, but if you have fun with it, people tend to engage quite a bit more."
CP+B assembled this collection of responses that Captain Obvious' verification campaign has received so far (click to expand):
Twitter's FAQ on verification doesn't outline how it decides which accounts get verified and which don't, noting only, "We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business and other key interest areas." But the network also points out the process might not be immediate.
"Even if he doesn't [get verified], we've done a good job of proving that he's real," Friedrich said, "that he's not just some fake salesman for somebody, that he's out in the world doing his thing."
Captain Obvious is popping up elsewhere as well. This spring, he took the hard-sell approach for a number of short spots. In June, he had some fun with Facebook's silently autoplaying videos, featuring him silently playing the piano. A few weeks later, the company hid the details of a giveaway within the typically boring legal copy of a 15-second spot.
But on Twitter, very few of his deep thoughts have anything to do with the brand he promotes. Friedrich said Captain Obvious's less-than-pushy perspectives on social media should bolster his case for eventually becoming verified.
"He just happened to become [Hotels.com's] biggest fan and a big supporter of what they do because they are so obvious in what they offer," Friedrich said. "That enables us creatively to do some different things and for him to own his own voice, and that allows us to do with it what we want to when we need it."