#BBCtrending: #GiveGregTheHoliday... it worked!
- 22 May 2014
How a security guard's leave request was shared across Britain, drawing in marketing firms and ending with a free trip to Las Vegas.
Greg Heaslip felt like some time off.
Heaslip works as a security guard for the Arcadia Group, the UK retail giant behind brands such as Burton, Topshop, BHS and Dorothy Perkins. He put in a leave request to his line manager.
Nothing unusual so far - except that when his line manager discussed Greg's request with others, the email was inadvertently sent to thousands of Arcadia Group employees. And that is when social media whirred into action.
An Arcadia employee, Kimberly Jaina, seems to have been the first to get onto Twitter and use the hashtag #GiveGregTheHoliday. Within minutes, others were using the hashtag. "Mayhem in the office," one person tweeted. "Does anyone know if Greg's holiday has been approved? Edge of my seat here!" said another.
Interest in Heaslip's holiday inside Arcadia Group was so fevered that #GiveGregTheHoliday became a top trend in the UK with more than 2,000 tweets - and that is when the marketing started. Companies tried to put their messages across using the hashtag, including some like Miss Selfridge that are actually part of Arcadia Group.
Other marketers too spied the potential of the trending hashtag, including offering Heaslip free toiletries for his trip and even a firm offering soundproofing.
Finally, the tour operator Trek America took the marketing effort to its logical conclusion and actually offered Heaslip a holiday to Las Vegas - although so far, they told BBC Trending, he has not accepted.
So did Heaslip get his leave approved after the social media campaign? His employers, Arcadia Group, have told BBC Trending that despite the mail sent around implying he wouldn't get any holiday, this was sent in error and he would be getting his leave after all.
"The holiday request had actually already been approved on the system and Greg will get his holiday!" they said.
The BBC could not reach Heaslip for comment and he may not actually know much about what has happened. "Greg works nights," say his employers, "so we are not totally sure as to when today he became aware of the interest in him and his holiday."
Reporting by Mukul Devichand
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