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"How has Secretariat touched your life? Use #SecretariatTouchedMe to share how."
BoJack Horseman on Twitter

With the rise of Friending Networks, corporations adapted their Advertising Campaigns to better reflect their viewers/consumers. One of the bigger changes was courting the youth demographic up to 25 years old by using their own New Media habits to make them promote the show/product themselves. This also has an added benefit by letting corporations rally the Viral Marketing for a product under one specific hashtag. Different consumers could otherwise create their own hashtag individually, resulting in an awkward "hashtag battle". It can simply be the title (#TvTropesTheShow), only the initials to shorten it (#TTTS) or sometimes the Tagline, a catchphrase (#lampshaded) or even something completely new created only for this purpose (#ShareTheTrope). Another more ingenious, and insidious, method consists of including a "#" (pronounce "number sign") inside the very title, immediately turning the work into a trendy word. Since hashtags' capitalization in not important, it could either be ALL CAPS to better stand out, all lowercase because millennials "don't have the time for that", or use CamelCase to remain readable while looking somewhat futuristic.

This is mainly used in Live-Action TV as a way to directly interact with their audience by displaying it in one corner at all times. Some chosen tweets can be displayed onscreen during the show at the bottom of the screen to show how the general audience react and incite the rest of the public to react as well and hopefully be featured live on television. Some shows push the concept further by creating episode-specific hashtags to hype up their next episode (#TheBigFinale, #AliceVsBob, …) or even further by creating hashtags to react to key moments while they are still happening (#RedTeamWins, #FarewellAlice, …). Of course, reruns featuring them immediately look dated and the hashtags useless. Another trend appeared late 2015, with corporation making brand deals with Twitter themselves to make specific hashtags (momentarily) appear with special emojis related to the film/product.

The line between an Engineered Hashtag and a good ol' regular hashtag is thin but clear: the latter is created by the users who want to share their experiences while the former is created for the users by the creators themselves to encourage them to talk about their product. It is not impossible for a creator to eventually exploit a popular hashtag created by the users to communicate about the product, effectively turning it into an Ascended Meme. Similarly, an In-Universe hashtag could also be used by the fans and/or the creators to talk about the show, defictionalizing it. Badly conducted campaigns could create Forced Memes by pushing a particular hashtag too much (though one could argue that there is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity). However, if it is successful enough to the point that the hashtag is known outside of its original demographic it can even bring out people eager to Watch It for the Meme. Note that it is not only reserved to multinational corporations selling truckloads of products or a network promoting their new show. A single person, from a football fan supporting his team with #LetsGoWildcats to a protester with #EnoughOfThis on a placard, could do it as well. As long as they publicly show their hashtag to the world with the hope that it will become a thing, the media covering the events could easily offer them free publicity.

For the detractors of this practice, it is viewed as a sneaky way to sell their products to easily manipulable kids and teens, because New Media Are Evil and Popular Is Dumb (in other words, Totally Radical for The New '10s). On the other side, many people find this an easy way to see what other people think about their favorite subject (which is basically the entire purpose of an hashtag to begin with). Old brands often use this to make themselves look "hip" once again. Remember: Tropes Are Not Bad. For example, old brands could actually make themselves hip again through a well executed hashtag campaign, an independent artist could use an hilarious and charming pun-based hashtag to help promote the Kickstarter for their lifelong dream project or a major company may genuinely be looking for feedback in the hashtag of their disappointing but yet-not-that-hopeless TV show in order to improve things in the next season.

Sub-Trope of Viral Marketing. Compare #HashtagForLaughs, the comedic use of hashtags (which can overlap with this trope if it is savvy enough); Old Media Playing Catch-Up, when old media sees itself out in the dust of newer media; and Audience Participation (Failure when it turns into a Forced Meme). Has nothing to do with The Engineer nor Hashtag Rap, though the punchline could potentially be turned into a viral hashtag.

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Straight Examples:

  • Many adverts have this to help either promote the brand, or to promote the ad itself.
  • A variant: Twitter accounts related to the ad itself. Examples include adding a username to State Farm's famous "Jake from State Farm" ad, and a Little Caesars commercial asking viewers to tweet out their disapproval over the lack of a new pizza they were shilling to a fictional LC employee's Twitter account.
    • Muppets Most Wanted did this in the months leading up to its release. Some promos featured quotes from (real) Twitter accounts made by Disney talking about how they want to see the film. Spelling errors and all. One even went totally meta:
      AllBetsYsrOFF: Wait a minute, how is what I'm writing ending up in this commercial? Seriously, as I'm typing this it's showing up on screen. Stop it, you're freaking me out! Am I crazy? Is this real? Am I real?

  • In Archie Comics (2015) Archie wonders "#WhatDidReggieDo". This was an (successful) attempt by Archie's to get readers to hashtag what they thought Reggie did to earn a criminal record.


  • In Face/Off, the hashtag #FACEOFF is displayed on the workshop door and under the clock (plus your usual reminders by the host).
    • In season 8, the contestants were coached by a previous winner. During their Confession Cam sessions, the hashtag of their team name was displayed (#TeamLaura, #TeamRayce, or #TeamAnthony).
  • Sister shows Survivor and The Amazing Race both use these. Most of the time, the hashtags show up for the usual scenes that show up every episode, like #ImmunityChallenge or #Roadblock, but sometimes a unique one will pop up in response to something that was just said or shown onscreen. Beginning in Season 26, Amazing Race started prepackaging nicknames for their teams.
  • The current revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? had hashtags pop up on screen with the name of the game (e.g., #ScenesFromAHat) as each started. After the first couple episodes, this seemed to have been dropped.
  • The show @Midnight, and its sequel series After Midnight asks the audience to tweet in with hashtag jokes, and the funniest ones will appear on the show the next day.
  • Doctor Who had #SaveTheDay for the 50th anniversary, the Day of the Doctor. This didn't really amount to anything, and actually ended up backfiring as the same hashtag was already being used to promote several unrelated ventures, including a Selena Gomez song.
  • Morning shows such as Today do this from time to time.
    • One example would be #ThankYouWillard during the days leading up to and during the last day the show's resident Cool Old Guy Willard Scott was on the show as a correspondent before he retired.
    • There's also #IAmUnbroken, which encouraged viewers to "share their unbreakable spirit" but was little more than a shameless plug for Universal's film Unbroken.
  • The ABC's live forum show Q&A has "#QandA" and "#FactCheck". A variant, however, in that these are shown in tweets made during the broadcast, and the latter is to sort out claims made during the hour-long show (This is justified, as they do have a lot of questions to get through and none of the subject matter is rehearsed).
  • After the 2020 election, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert refused to refer to Donald Trump by name. The following April, Stephen started up the hashtag #HeWhoShallBeNamed to collect user suggestions for funny nicknames to use in its place.
  • Kamen Rider Revice: Vice is a Fourth-Wall Observer to begin with, and in one episode he got an extended fight scene where he deliberately showed off to the audience and tried to get #NiceVice trending on social media.
  • The first season of The Last Kingdom attempted this with #IAmSaxon and #IAmDane, as the series is about Anglo-Saxons vs. Danes in mediaeval Britain with the Child of Two Worlds protagonist torn between both.
  • Every episode of Sam & Cat is styled as a hashtag (ex: the first episode is called "#Pilot").

  • The Trope Codifier is the music video for "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, pictured, which features the hashtags #THICKE and #BLURREDLINES briefly appearing onscreen from time to time.
  • "#SELFIE" by the Chainsmokers. You can't make more engineered than that: the word was already (and still is) a trendy word before the song existed.
    • World Wrestling Entertainment's NXT brand took it a step further by having the roster's resident pretty boy/selfie enthusiast Tyler Breeze, who also has a forced hashtag for his theme song #MmmmGorgeous, campaign to get himself into an updated video for the Chainsmokers' song.
  • Susan Boyle promoted one of her albums with the hashtag #SusanAlbumParty. Thanks to The Problem with Pen Island, a good number of Twitterers were instead invited to Su's Anal Bum Party.
  • Parodied in the music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Word Crimes" to spoof the actual #EngineeredHashtags - #THICKE and #BLURREDLINES - that briefly appear in the music video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", the original song. The fairly normal #WORDCRIMES and #YANKOVIC appear early, but then it gets silly with hashtags like #YOU'DBETTERSLOWDOWNANDUSETHERIGHTPRONOUNSHOWTHEWORLDYOU'RENOCLOWN.
  • AKB48 has a song called "#SukiNanda", which translates to "#ILoveYou" in English.

    #Networks and #ProgrammingBlocks  
  • ABC and Fox often display the program's name in the form of a hashtag underneath their logo.
    • Fox once experimented with posting suggested hashtag names below specific events on their shows, immediately after they happened. For example, the Lady Gaga episode of The Simpsons contained a scene where Gaga suddenly kissed Marge on the lips — and then half a second later, #GagaKissesMarge appeared near the Fox logo. Viewers found it more annoying than "helpful" and Fox soon quit the practice.
  • NBC Universal has #WhyImThankful, a hashtag that appears on most NBC programming every Thanksgiving.
  • Toonami uses hashtags in the bumpers and promos for each show on the block. This can get confusing when fans end up trending a different hashtag (sometimes on purpose) and sometimes the block's hashtag choice for a show is not what you'd expect (like #Shippuden instead of #NarutoShippuden or simply #Naruto)

  • In the preview videos Escape from Vault Disney! puts on their Twitter page to promote podcast episodes, there is a hashtag meant to accomplish this that flashes on the bottom of the screen, usually referring to an absurd joke in the episode.

  • The French Football Federation created the hashtagline #FiersDetreBleus ("Proud to be Blues", the nickname of the French sport teams) right in time for Euro 2016.

  • In 2014, NBC aired a live broadcast of Peter Pan. The stage show rather famously includes a scene in which Tinker Bell is close to death and Peter Pan calls on the audience to clap their hands if they believe in fairies in order to save her. During the broadcast, however, NBC decided to take this one step further and initiated #SaveTinkerBell.


  • Artsy Omni created a hoax announcing the arrival of Rayman in the popular Super Smash Bros. series to promote his new show called Smashified, and it far exceeded its initial expectations. He and his team ask their viewers to use the hashtag #smashified to suggest what characters they would like to see made in the show.
  • In his "10 Romantic Valentine's Day Gifts!" video, Ryan Higa has a Running Gag called "Fart Cam" consisting of farting with a camera between his legs to film someone's reaction to it. It apparently wants it to become a thing, since the episode ends with #FartCam appearing on the screen for a split second.
  • The Nostalgia Critic, in association with and I Hate Everything, launched the hashtag #WTFU ("Where is the Fair Use?") to fight back against the copyright claims abuse on YouTube by Hollywood and other creators despite the work being used under the protection of Fair Use laws.
  • On 6/26/15, the day of the SCOTUS decision to make gay marriage legal across America, Twitter unveiled the hashtag #LoveWins which would make a rainbow heart emoji appear in the tweet.

  • When it was new, Cartoon Network created #bearstack to promote We Bare Bears. They used it in several videos showing the three bears in their signature stack wandering in several locations, even in other Cartoon Network shows' backgrounds.
    • They did something similar for the 2016 reboot of The Powerpuff Girls, with various characters from other CN shows watching the three girls fly with anticipation, the clips ending with #CNPPG.
  • For the Grand Finale of Gravity Falls, "Weirdmageddon Part 3: Take Back The Falls", Disney Channel and XD aired multiple short ads featuring the hashtag #TakeBackTheFalls, sometimes as a Freeze-Frame Bonus (the GF fandom is known for analyzing everything related to the show in hope of discovering hidden clues).
  • Shortly before season 3 of Bojack Horseman went live, the show's Twitter feed, as a means of promoting the Secretariat biopic that Bojack made during season 2, asked followers how Secretariat affected them by launching the Accidental Innuendo-ridden hashtag #SecretariatTouchedMe (quoted at the top of the page).
  • The Simpsons: During the original broadcast of "Lisa Goes Gaga", on-air graphics with the hashtags #GagaExpress #GagaKissesMarge were shown during certain moments.
  • South Park had #cancelsouthpark at the end of every episode of Season 22 (minus one that had #cancelthesimpsons instead), probably as an attempt to create controversy that however failed to catch on.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars had #CloneWarsSaved when the installment's renewal was announced as a shoutout to fan campaigns dedicated to bringing it back.


  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: During The Proposal in "What if the series was set in modern times?", Marco comes up with the plan to film William Roger Tennant everywhere he goes, and upload his slip-ups to Twitter with the hashtag #notsonicetennant in hopes that they'll go viral. When the Animorphs finally cause a scandal, the trending hashtag is #tennantgate instead.
  • In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, while Chloe is on the Infinity Train, her family decides to start a movement called #CallingChloe to convince others to show their support for the Vermillion City girl.
  • In With Pearl and Ruby Glowing, people who thought Lapis (given the name Bobbie DeMayo) was the one abusing Jasper (named Treasure Agateva) mocked her online using the hashtag "#SloppyDemayo".

  • Cobra Kai: Tech dummy Johnny needs extensive help from his students to make a YouTube video advertising the Cobra Kai dojo. He thinks the team needs a hashtag to promote publicity—except he doesn't know what they're called.
    Johnny: Oh, and put one of those hashbrowns at the end, like hashbrown Team Cobra Kai or something. And then SEND IT TO THE INTERNET!
  • In the episode "A Tale of Two Piggies" in The Muppets (2015), Miss Piggy's tail pops out while she's being photographed by paparazzi, and after a story from a young fan inspires Piggy, she starts the hashtag #UnveilTheTail to promote the upcoming episode of Up Late with Miss Piggy.
  • A major plot point in Black Mirror episode Hated in the Nation. A CSI-like story tracking down a renegade software engineer who hacked his company's brainchild, the ADI drones (robotic honey bees, built after real bees went extinct). After the hashtag #DeathTo started trending on not-Twitter, the hashtag functioned as a popular vote as to who the ADIs would attack and kill next. Ultimately, stamping out this behavior was the goal of the software engineer. The ADIs kept a log of everybody who used the hashtag, and turning off the 'death poll' part of their programming was the trigger of a second function to go kill everybody that used the hashtag. In the end, 400,000 people died because they used it.

  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, you can overhear some militia more thrilled about their popularity on social media than their actual assault on Gotham.
    "We did good, the attack's trending! #CityOfFear ! Upload your pics!"
    • In the same game, the Riddler tried to ignite an uproar against Batman's failures with #CrusaderGate. Unfortunately for him, it appeared that even the worst internet trolls were on the bat's side.
      "Y do u attack B@man? He is BASED! U r a fa-"
  • In Ratchet & Clank (2016), the CEO of Gadgetron, the game's weapons manufacturer, asks Ratchet to use #Gadgetron online to advertise the Hologuise he just gave him.
    Wendell Lumos: The kids love their social medias.

  • Game Grumps created a Show Within a Show called "I 🍔 Burgie" to promote their tee-shirts. The main protagonist is an obnoxious burger called Burgie shooting "Beefy!" as his catchphrase. Anytime he does it, the hashtag #beefy appears in the corner. In a funny twist, they realized later that the hashtag was already used by a gay porn website. Other fake hashtags include #RelishShits and #BurgerFeels.
    • Invoked in a Super Mario Maker episode in which they pitch a generic sitcom about a quirky nerdy girl named Laura. #rawful
  • In a "Skitzo" episode, Regina suggests a new Show Within a Show with her friend Shaundi called "Rhawnderies" teaching how to be an ANNOYINGnote  Girl. At the end, they ask the audience to tag their questions with #ReginersAndShaundies.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged had Cell launch the hashtag "#CellGames" to promote the titular event, which according to Yamcha started trending within seconds. In a rather unique case, the hashtag ended up trending on Twitter in Real Life thanks to the series' popularity and some tweets by Team Four Star that promoted the hashtag.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged streamed the celebration of Rufus becoming Shinra Inc.'s President across the Shintranet and proposed hashtags to celebrate certain milestones. The event itself used #NewPrez; a concurrent Gold Saucer contest used #GP4Lyfe, and it mocked Cloud's poor parade performance with #YouHad1Job.
  • Parodied in this article from The Onion: 2-Hour Meeting Spent Thinking Up Hashtag Absolutely Nobody On Planet Earth Will Ever Use.