Since 2007, a man named John Lewis in Blacksburg, Virginia has been using the twitter handle @johnlewis. He receives around 50,000 tweets a year, peaking around this festive time of year with the release of the annually anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad.
A lecturer at Virginia Tech University, John Lewis (the man) has twice as many Twitter followers (43,000) than the John Lewis (the shop) customer service Twitter feed, @jlandpcustserv. The UK retail giant has never offered to buy the handle from the computer science lecturer, and he tells the Guardian: “I think it’s hilarious that people mistake me for the UK store and I do my best to direct them to the right place”. He adds, “I see a massive spike in tweets at this time of year and I always watch the John Lewis advert, especially as it becomes a big part of my conversation.”
Even though John lives 3,683 miles from the UK, he has become a viral star with his comedic and earnest responses to John Lewis customers accidentally tweeting the American. In his very own ad for Twitter, the social media company plays on this narrative with the tagline: “This Christmas. Join the conversation. Even if it’s by mistake. The ad sees how John light-heartedly responds to his inundated Twitter feed at this time of year, taking his time to respond to those who mistakenly tag him.
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