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Check Out the First Tweets Ever Sent By Nike, ESPN, Xbox, Coke and More

A Critical Mass of Brands Took to Twitter In 2009

By Published on . 1

Twitter was founded in 2006, but for brands it all began in 2009 when a critical mass of the nation's biggest marketers started tweeting.

As Twitter begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, we take a look back at when some of the brands that have amassed the largest followings over the years published their first tweets.

We looked at the brands with 500,000 or more followers on Ad Age's Leading National Advertisers list, as well as a few others flagged by Socialbakers. Twenty-three out of 40 began tweeting in 2009, according to a list of first tweets provided by Topsy, one of Twitter's official data resellers. (First tweets from an additional two brands that met the qualifications couldn't be retrieved.) That predates the launch of promoted tweets and the arrival of sales chief Adam Bain; both landed at Twitter in 2010.

Not coincidentally, 2009 was also the year in which Twitter's user growth began to explode. The company reported 5 million users in January 2009, 28 million six months later in July, and then 75 million in January 2010. (It's now reached 230 million users.) Celebrity Twitter powerhouses Katy Perry, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Rihanna also joined the service that year. (Early adopter Lady Gaga has had a Twitter account since March 2008.)

The sole member of the list of brands with at least 500,000 followers to begin tweeting in 2007 (a year after Twitter was founded) was ESPN, which clearly hadn't mastered the art quite yet. Its first tweet was a link with a headline for a story about pitcher Kenny Rogers's surgery, which was cut off despite being well under the 140-character limit.

The last member of the list to join Twitter was Nike, which published its first tweet in December 2011 but has still managed to amass almost 2.3 million followers in the meantime.

Based on the resources that many brands are now devoting to social content creation and community management -- with a notable exception of Johnson & Johnson, which has largely abstained from Twitter across its product portfolio -- it's curious to see what the initial efforts looked like. Now ubiquitous hashtags and mentions that brands use to boost engagement were absent.

It appears that several brands were at a total loss for what to say.

Meanwhile, Google's first tweet was delightfully nerdy. The account has since gone corporate with a mix of tweets that include product announcements and tips for using Google services, as well as the latest Google doodles.

In Pepsi's case, the editorial strategy of tweeting about music and entertainment that would later unfold was not yet in evidence.

And Pizza Hut's first tweet was in the first person singular, which it and virtually every other brand has abandoned in favor of "we."

In chronological order, here are first tweets from 32 other brands with more than 500,000 followers.

BlackBerry: Getting ready for WES 2008 in Orlando (May 5, 2008)

Whole Foods: need help expanding your small, local food producing business? we can help! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/locallygrown/lplp (June 20, 2008)

Paramount Pictures: Casey Here: Michael and I just created the first ParamountPics twitter entry. Stay tuned for more updates from Paramount Pictures. (July 7, 2008)

Bravo TV: There You Go: Well, there you go, everyone. Another stylist walked away with the Shear Genius title and e.. http://tinyurl.com/5z8xsj (Aug. 29, 2008)

Taco Bell: Taco Bell is going big once again. If any player steals a base in the 2008 MLB World Series, America get's a FREE taste of Taco Bell! (Oct. 22, 2008)

H&M: Getting ready for the H&M Comme des Garcons launch on November 13th. Find a store near you at www.hm.com/cdg. (Nov. 6, 2008)

Calvin Klein: View the new Calvin Klein Jeans video. It's uncensored at: http://www.calvinkleininc.com/ (Jan. 30, 2009)

PlayStation: we'll be sharing more info here on Sony's whereabouts at GDC08, including updates on our blogger lounge:http://tinyurl.com/27yyoo (Feb. 12, 2009)

Amazon: Follow Amazon Lightning Deals! @amazondeals (Feb. 14, 2009)

Universal Pictures: Judd Apatow's FUNNY PEOPLE trailer on AOL! http://tinyurl.com/djrfyy (Feb. 25, 2009)

Skype: Skype brings High Quality Video calling to the NAB Show http://tinyurl.com/d7jw7l (May 7, 2009)

Subway: SubwayFreshBuzz is alive!! Hello Twitter. (May 12, 2009)

Coca-Cola: RT @Kenth Better than bananas! Zoo uses Coca-Cola to snare escaped gorilla back to habitat http://tinyurl.com/o6n8jk (May 28, 2009)

Louis Vuitton: Does the journey create the person or does the person create the journey ? http://www.louisvuittonjourneys.com (June 17, 2009)

Claro Ronaldo: Estréia hoje o Twitter oficial da Claro Brasil [Translation from Portuguese: "Today the official Twitter account of Claro Brasil debuts"] (June 19, 2009)

Sephora: We're busy getting a makeover @Sephora! Find us at www.twitter.com/sephorablog, we'll be back soon! (June 19, 2009)

NBA on TNT: Are you as excited about the upcoming season as we are?? Start following us on Twitter to hear all about NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA. (July 23, 2009)

Verizon Wireless: Welcome to VZWOffers! Follow us and be one of the first to find out about great deals and exclusive offers on phones, accessories and more. (Aug. 4, 2009)

HBO: An NHL game in 1972 was the first program ever broadcast on @HBO. This is our first tweet. (Sept. 14, 2009)

Microsoft: Hi Twittersphere! This is the official page for Microsoft consumer products and your source for major announcements and events. (Sept. 21, 2009)

Coach: Introducing the new Madison collection. Updated silhouettes, colors, and luxurious details. Check it out: http://bit.ly/Ogp8n (Sept. 23, 2009)

Nickelodeon: Tweet #1! Bringing you the latest and greatest news from planet Nickelodeon. Check out the brand new site: http://www.nick.com (Sept. 30, 2009)

American Express: Hi everyone, jazzed to be here! We have lots in store & a big surprise today for Cardmember music fans-an event w a rock icon just for you! (Nov. 9, 2009)

Target: Hello, Twitterverse! Target here. We've got news and deals to share, and we're looking forward to hearing from you. (Nov. 22, 2009)

Marc Jacobs Intl: welcome tweeties... (Jan. 9, 2010)

Armani: Emporio Armani Caffè Milano - Now Open. http://bit.ly/bBj32o (Feb. 1, 2010)

Victoria's Secret: Victoria's Secret has finally joined the Twitterati. Get ready to receive the sexiest tweets ever! #VictoriasSecret & #VSFashionShow (Nov. 29, 2010)

Disney: "The more the world shrinks because of electronic communications, the more limitless becomes the province of the storytelling entertainer." (Dec. 5, 2010)

App Store (Apple): Welcome to App Store on Twitter! Follow us to discover new apps, get exclusive offers, and share with friends. #appstore (Jan. 24, 2011)

Samsung Mobile: Welcome to the Samsung Mobile twitter feed. We're glad you've found us, because something big is coming. (Aug. 25, 2011)

Dior: Dior J'adore writes a new spectacular chapter on ultimate feminity. Follow Charlize Theron to get a sneak peek ! http://youtu.be/Em0CXuZgpz0 (Aug. 29, 2011)

Chanel: CHANEL donates a unique J12 Marine for the "Only Watch" charity auction on 9/23 in favor of Duchenne muscular dystrophy pic.twitter.com/2JjbI1Ow (Sept. 21, 2011)

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