Paddy Power takes mick by appointing 'Barry from EastEnders' as Twitter head of Fleets

Stunt timed just as Twitter prepares to retire the Fleets feature due to low usage.

Shaun Williamson (aka Barry from EastEnders): unveiled as Paddy Power’s new head of Fleets strategy
Shaun Williamson (aka Barry from EastEnders): unveiled as Paddy Power’s new head of Fleets strategy

Loveable loser Shaun Williamson – aka Barry from EastEnders – has taken the helm as Paddy Power’s new Twitter head of Fleets strategy.

With perfect timing, the appointment comes just as the Fleets function is to be dropped by Twitter, following a short-lived life span.

Paddy Power has created a tongue-in-cheek ad that pokes fun at the gambling platform for its evident mistake and sees Williamson enthusiastically limbering up to promote his new role and asking viewers to keep their eyes open for exciting new content.

The ad was written by Kieran Weldon, directed by Robin Marks and edited by Joe Macauley. 

— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 2, 2021

Paddy Power, the brand's aptly named spokesman, said: “Here at Paddy Power, we like to keep up with the latest social media trends, and our experts reliably inform us that Fleets have a big future on Twitter.

“To take advantage of this new craze, we’ve turned to a true British icon in Shaun Williamson to help deliver entertaining content for our followers. We’re confident that he will be in this role for the long-run, and won’t be meeting any abrupt ends à la Janine Butcher.”

Butcher was a villainous character whose highest-profile storyline involved the death of her hapless husband, Barry.

Twitter's Fleets function – which features disappearing posts as an alternative to the popular Stories feature on rival apps such as Instagram and Snapchat – is being removed after less than a year on the platform due to low usage.

Introduced last November, Twitter had said it hoped Fleets would encourage people who were anxious about tweeting to join in conversations on the platform more easily, but has now found the feature is most commonly used by those already tweeting the most.

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