Hashtag-Shaped Frozen Potatoes Are the Latest Groan-Worthy Social Media Gimmick

Tweets you can eat?

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Finally, there is a food product that seems made for people who would rather stay home and tweet than go out to eat.

Next month, frozen food brand Birds Eye UK is expected to roll out Mashtags, a potato product (think mashed potatoes) inspired by the style of conversation on social media:

Boasting the tagline “#new, #tasty and Pot@to Shapes,” the product features the # and @ signs popular on Twitter and the ♥ symbol that represents “likes” on Instagram. The social networking theme of the snack, which will reportedly cost £1.75 (about $3.00), is supposed to “get people talking around the table,” Birds Eye UK brand manager Pete Johnson told Pocket-lint, an independent UK gadget news website.

Mashtags is just the latest example of social networking-themed marketing campaigns designed to boost brands’ visibility — or gimmicks that are free publicity for the social networks they pay homage to. In summer 2013, the Scottish brewery BrewDog produced a beer with almost the same name called “#MashTag”, crowdsourcing every aspect of the beer-making process to engage fans. And to help guests engage with one another, a “Twitter-themed” hotel called Sol Wave House on the Spanish island Majorca has boasted rooms with hashtag-shaped candies and blue cocktails to find parties, order drinks, and start poolside chats to facilitate hook-ups.

Anybody remember when a “hashtag” was just a boring old pound sign? Anybody?