Ever since Twitter made the exciting (and controversial) decision to expand their character limit from 140 characters to a whopping 280 characters, brands have been exploring new ways to make the most of the added space. Twitter implemented the change after discovering that nine percent of tweets in the English language hit the character limit.

“This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning tweets before sending,” wrote Twitter Product Manager, Aliza Rosen in a blog post. With the expanded character count, that number plummeted to only one percent of tweets hitting the limit.

For businesses using Twitter as part of their marketing strategy, composing clever 280 character tweets provides an opportunity to communicate more effectively with your audience. Some brands have shown off their sense of humor by hitting the limit with jokes, others have used the longer tweets to express an impactful message. Here are some of the best ways businesses have deployed the 280 character tweets.

Sports brands boosting engagement with 280 character tweets

Chicago Bears

Borrowing from the beloved Saturday Night Live sketch, the Chicago Bears used all 280 characters to tweet out the signature tagline, “Daa-Bears” to all of their 1.6 million followers. Without the use of audio, the marketers behind the Chicago Bears cleverly conveyed the over-the-top Chicago accent parodied in the SNL sketch via tweet.

Their funny use of the famous catch-phrase paid off. The tweet received nearly 12,000 retweets and 53,000 likes. The catch-phrase is treasured by both fans of the team and fans of the classic sketch.

Da Bears thanked Twitter at the end for giving them extra characters with which to extend the catch-phrase beyond previously imposed limits. The effect? A shared laugh among Twitter users and more engagement for the franchise.

Seattle Mariners

In true Seattle style, The Mariners created a sarcastic response to Twitter’s announcement of the 280 character tweet. Using punctuation to build a brick wall with an ornery-looking stick figure at the bottom, the Mariners did not mince words when they pronounced, “this is a bad idea” in their 280 characters tweet.

Drawing attention to the potential for misuse of the longer character limit, the marketers behind the team demonstrated how giving Twitter users 280 characters could be a poor choice. The team banked on the cynicism of their fan base to appreciate this vein of biting humor.

With 21,000 retweets and nearly 59,000 likes, the Mariners read their audience correctly and delivered on the joke.

NBA Referees

The National Basketball Referees Association used the 280 character extension to make light of the cyber abuse directed at them by angry fans. Addressing the many complaints the association receives from the public over their judgement calls during games, the refs asserted that the unsolicited feedback should be written more thoughtfully now that Twitter users have access to a full 280 characters.

The tongue-in-cheek tweet earned 7,400 retweets and 24,000 likes. Turns out that the NBA Referees playful sense of humor was a slam dunk.

Media brands using 280 characters to connect with fans

National Geographic Wild

When we think of the National Geographic Wild network, we think of ruthless lions stalking their innocent prey on the savannah, vicious tigers hunting wild boar, and of course, Cesar Milan, Dog Whisperer. Naturally, the marketers behind the network capitalized on Twitter’s emoji feature to jam pack all our favorite animals into 280 characters.

Marvel UK and Ireland

Marvel UK and Ireland took the only line spoken by Groot, the beloved character from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy and employed repetition for comedic effect. Now that Twitter allows videos and photos in addition to more characters, the brand was able to put together an eye-catching, fun tweet for fans of the film.

The 280 character tweet received 989 retweets and 1,000 likes, making us all wish that we were Groot.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The crime show Law & Order franchise has managed to stay relevant since 1990 by continuing to build on its fan base and staying social media savvy. When set loose on Twitter’s new 280 character limit, the social media marketers behind the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit brand tweeted out the full introduction that plays at the beginning of every episode. Almost as iconic as the show itself is the *DUN DUN* sound effect that cuts between scenes.

Fans of the show demonstrated their approval through 259,000 likes.


Spotify created a fun emoji quiz to test the brand’s followers on popular song titles. The tweet solicited significant engagement with 200 comments, 853 retweets and 2,700 likes. The company found a creative way to maximize the potential of 280 characters by choosing something interactive and relevant to the spirit of their business.

Food businesses making the most of 280 characters


The social media wizards over at Denny’s tapped into their famous well-spring of oddball wit to craft a goofy tweet about trading in their extra 140 characters for beans. Coffee beans? Baked beans? Unclear. All we know is that they definitely weren’t magic beans.

Moon Pie

Moon Pies used all 280 characters to say that they were too old fashioned to use all 280 characters. The food brand delivered a double whammy, highlighting their long history while showing off a light-hearted sense of humor. Poking fun at Twitter’s decision to expand the limit, Moon Pies demonstrated that they still got it.

Aroma Espresso Bar

Even with a smaller profile than big name fast food joints, Aroma Espresso Bar managed to entice Twitter users with a detailed description of one of it’s healthy meal offerings. Accompanied with a professional quality photo, the 280 characters are put to good use in a straightforward tweet. You know exactly what you’re getting at Aroma Espresso Bar in Canada.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut used all 280 characters to create eye catching stick figures announcing a 50 percent off deal online. A Twitter user scrolling through their feed would have a tough time missing this visually engaging tweet. Another brand making light of Twitter’s move to add more characters by employing them in the silliest fashion possible. The pizza emojis don’t hurt either.

Brands improving customer service via Twitter with 280 characters


The Amazon Help account can now address people’s complaints using their full name and even a signature of the customer service representative addressing the concern. With the extra characters, Amazon customers will be even more likely to engage with the business over Twitter.


Ikea can now fully express their polite regrets when something goes wrong on their website. The business made use of their 280 characters to inform aggravated customers that they were aware of the technical issues in their online ordering systems and asked for patience while they resolved the issue. Classy move, Ikea.

Since the initial release of the 280 character extension, many businesses have chosen to stay true to the original spirit of Twitter and keep it brief. Whether you choose to go all in on 280 characters or show off your cleverness with the brevity of 140, make it clever and make it count.

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