Woody Harrelson turned into meme after spectacular social media fail -

White Men Can't Jump star Woody Harrelson, 50, found himself the latest in a seemingly unending string of cynical marketers trying to artificially create a viral on social media, and failing spectacularly.

The ex-Cheers actor is appearing in a new movie called Rampart. Much of the internet will be familiar with the film's title, but less so with its content, as either he or his agent took to Reddit to get its billion plus userbase to "ask him anything".

Unfortunately for Harrelson, the thread was turned upside down when he or his agent refused to answer questions about literally anything except his new film, Rampart.

After Woody Harrelson's no-show on much of the questions, rumours started to appeal. One of them said he took a girl's virginity after prom and never called back.

Now, a quick search reveals threads like "Upjerk to raise Kim Jong Il form [sic] the dead. <Also starring in Rampart>". Another is titled "IMPORTANCE LEVEL = RAMPART", and "RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART".

It just highlights the growing consciousness against trying to go viral. A thread on Reddit can work, if the celebrity involved is willing to put the time in to actually ask questions. Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell recently created a thread that went down well, and even Rampart's director Oren Moverman answered questions about a month ago

The highest rated comment on the original post, from a redditor called sailormooncake, reads: 

"Mr. Harrelson/Mr. Harrelson's PR agents:

"You answered a total of 4 questions here today, and when I say "answered", I mean that loosely. You have also embarassed Mr. Harrelson in the process. Please inform the rest of Hollywood that Reddit is not a publicity outlet and that Redditors don't tolerate this kind of crap."

Lesson learned? For Rampart's marketing team, probably. For others? Probably not.

Marketers continue to misunderstand social platforms - the key word being 'social'. Rather than an unthinking, nodding and drooling malleable receptical of consumers for advertising, the popularity of social websites is that they are made of people and communities.

Reddit is one of the best examples for web communities there is.

Rampart's PR agency's actions are the equivalent of politely knocking on the front door of a house, then brazenly walking around, stripping the walls, and pasting promotional posters over family photos.

Jim Dowling, managing partner at Cake, which looks after social media campaigns for the likes of Sony and the Carphone Warehouse, agrees that Woody's team really missed the mark.

Speaking to TechEye, Dowling said: "The thing I love most about social media, is that it has reminded us all of one thing. We're all humans.

"We're not businesses, institutions, brands, celebrities. We all breathe, sleep, eat and have a life whoever or whatever it is we do. Social media is human-to-human communication with a computer keyboard in the way. All the hierarchy gets flattened.

"If you're a human – ordinarily – you don't like being sold to. You look for people you trust. If you want to gain the trust of anyone, you look them in the eye, tell them things straight, and do what you say you're going to do. That's all Woody needed to do, and then people may have listened to what he had to say about his film."

Speaking with TechEye, SEO firm Greenlight's social media director, Anna O'Brien, said there is a way to get it right: "Social media channels can be great tools for promotion- if you understand them. As a reddit geek myself, I would have the exact same reaction. This channel is notorious for poking fun at those that just don't get it.

"The reddit community demands one thing of posters; if you're going to participate, learn the rules first. It's not difficult. Both Zach Braff and Danny Pudi both have had wildly successful AMA threads, but only because they came into the experience knowing they could and would be asked anything."