Summer is in full swing, and that’s a fact. But in Twitter’s new ad, the heat sparks countless weather theories and opinions from all sides.

As part of the social network’s #SeeEverySide campaign, “Summergeddon is happening” is designed to emphasize Twitter’s value as a wellspring of current information. In a world where news moves lightning-fast and no two interpretations are alike, the ad couldn’t be more relevant.

What’s the story?

A heat wave has hit New York, and it has Twitter users everywhere talking. Over the course of the minute-long ad, we see citizens including a news reporter, a meteorologist, and a new graduate still in his cap and gown use the social site to receive heat advisories, read commentary, and view animated GIFs. A video of a man breaking a car window leads witnesses to speculate that “the heat literally drove this guy insane.” Moments later we learn that the man was only trying to rescue a dog left inside by a negligent owner.

Hashtags like #ReadTheFacts, #AlternativeForecast, and #AlternativeFacts feature prominently throughout the story, which is capped off with the tagline “Summergeddon is happening. #SeeEverySide.” The intended message is clear: By facilitating the distribution of up-to-the-minute insight and information, Twitter has become a key part of the shared human experience.

“Summergeddon” is accompanied by two additional ads in the #SeeEverySide campaign, including “GOAT is happening.” Here, too, Twitter conveys its importance in the cultural zeitgeist by demonstrating how stories can evolve as they’re shared. Celebrity athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Julius Erving (Dr. J), and Abby Wambach weigh in on an argument about “the greatest of all time” (GOAT, for short). The ad illustrates how a single question posted on Twitter can create an epic conversation the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else.

The same message is present in the third ad as well, which features Chance the Rapper soliciting requests for an upcoming live performance. Twitter users argue online — and in real life — over what song to request. The ad ends with him checking his replies and heading onstage to perform, underlining that Twitter has broken through the internet to permeate our in-person conversations, too.

What makes it great?

It’s no secret that Twitter has been criticized for attracting cyberbullies and trolls, or that it’s home to some pretty vitriolic verbal attacks. There’s also no point in denying the existence of “alternative facts” (check out #FlatEarth), or the role that Twitter has inadvertently played in disseminating them.

But the platform has the capacity to unite Twitter users by allowing them to take part in storied conversations, and its ads embrace all of its varied sides, and in the process they manage to highlight its true worth. Mashable, The Verge, and others have praised Twitter for creating its “most honest piece of advertising to date.”

Yes, the Twittersphere can be a volatile place — but it also unparalleled access to breaking news and a real-time, stream-of-consciousness global narrative.

Both ads are also a master class in product differentiation, a fundamental aspect of effective marketing. In the style of Seth Godin’s iconic book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Twitter has created a remarkable product, and it demands a remarkable marketing message.

What we learned

There are several lessons to be gleaned from Twitter’s new ads:

  • Differentiation is everything. Find what it is that sets your brand apart, and put it on display.
  • Every product has its flaws. Acknowledging them while also emphasizing the benefits can downplay the downside.
  • A strong tagline makes for the ideal hashtag and can help expand the reach of your ad online.

All images via Twitter