Brands Town is Where the Brands Are

From the perspective of the average Mastodon user, Brands Town came crawling out of a nightmare universe. Who builds a web community dedicated solely to corporate brand accounts, and nothing else? Someone clearly build this under the assumption that people wanted to talk to brands.

Wait a Minute…

Upon closer inspection, you might notice something very odd. None of the brands are normal.This place features food chains with names like Wanda’s, Uncle Chicken, and Nebraska Glazed Ham. Their technology brands are ghettotech, Lard VPN, headless Corps, Spurtly and of course, Nyetscape. And then, there are news outlets like MNNH News English, Victory News, and newcomer Ctrl Shift Media.

There’s just something a bit wrong with this place…

Join the revolution. Get lost with the General in the vibes! 😎 🎶

— Nebraska Glazed Ham :verified: (@ngh_official) 2022-11-23T08:01:36.067Z

I started Brands Town back in late 2022 as a culture-jamming satire project. A considerable amount of corporate brand accounts were registering on at the time. I cracked a joke that I couldn’t wait to federate with an official Wendy’s account. Dustin from Liner Notes Club popped into my replies, and said “This is why Brands Town should exist!”

I sat on the idea, looked into the cost of managed Mastodon instance hosting, and took the plunge. Putting out a cry for help, I explained to friends that I was starting a culture-jamming project. I encouraged people to be the weirdest brands possible. The more outrageous, the more alien, the better.

We're overjoyed to share the production poster of our latest film, which depicts a fantastic story on the origin of the .

Starring Daniel Radcliffe as Eugen Rochko. What a champ!

— Flounder Pictures :verified: (@flounderpictures) 2022-11-14T08:04:43.963Z

The early people who joined absolutely got it, and had a lot of fun. We all tried to come up with the weirdest, most ridiculous brands ever, and people still constantly fell for it.

I’m sorry, people, but we laughed at you a lot.

As time went on, we started holding various World Events. We had a fake war between countries, a fake supernatural reality-breaking event, and even a fake violent AI revolution that happened during a fake trade convention. Brands would react to events accordingly, participating in a bizarre roleplay that was happening on people’s timelines.

Attack of the Clones

But something else on the other side of the Internet was brewing – the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk. A fundamental change of the rules led to an advent of impostor accounts to wreak havoc on Twitter, break out, discover Brands Town, and migrate over. Originally, Brands Town was doing its own weird thing of larping as made-up silly brands, but the combination of both groups led to a real “You got peanut butter in my chocolate!” moment.

Below is a result of some truly incredible shitposting, one banger after another, banged out by bored people on the Internet with too much free time.

What’s funny about many of these, jokes aside, is the fact that many of the people who made accounts had experience working in marketing. Brands Town’s chatroom quickly became a place for people burnt out on being social media marketers to mercilessly imitate everything they despised about their day jobs.

Even now, months later, more than a few people have come forward to praise the project. Some of the accounts, like Coca-Cola, actually had a hilarious an nuanced take on marketing for the Fediverse, and could easily pass for the real deal.

[Brands Town] was the absolute most fun I’d had on the interwebs in years being one of [the brand account pages]

Former impersonator account owner

Revenge of the Lawyers

The fun wasn’t meant to last forever. We thought what we were doing was extremely funny, and so did a good chunk of the network. Legal departments of multi-national corporations just don’t feel the same way. Nestlé, Google, Coca-Cola, and Deutsche Bahn had all reached out with Cease & Desist orders on a platter, for tarnishing their otherwise stellar reputations.

Internally, we wore these emails as a badge of honor and pride. But, running on a managed instance, I knew that we could probably only handle so many more reports like this before the service owners washed their hands of us. So, I played dumb, acted incompetent, apologized profusely, and the silenced the accounts and deleted their contents.

This was from the morning after. The push queue kicked up to 200,000 objects multiple times the day prior.

This then choked the server for an entire day as hundreds of thousands of objects were sent deletion requests from a never-ending queue. Pro tip for admins: don’t do that.

Extended Lore

Another aspect of Brands Town that’s underappreciated is that there is a lore wiki, describing the background to some of the brands on the site. Brands Town itself has a fictional background as a tech startup founded by someone who initially had meant well, but was absolutely terrible at picking platforms: the founder bet big on a partnership with, and then put everything on the line to run brand pages on Orkut before pivoting to Mastodon.

There was just something about it. I could hang out with Coca-Cola, swap celebrity gossip with E! Hollywood Reporter, or cry about my feelings with The View. We could remove the barrier between product and consumer, and instead have a harmonious symbiotic relationship where people would be happy to talk to companies, instead of being annoyed by pop-ups.

Kevin Hanneman, Brands Town founder.

Of course, things go off the deep end, and eventually the company gets acquired by an interdimensional corporation that steals technology from one dimension, rebrands it, and sells it to another dimension.

Off-wiki, there’s tons of other bizarre things happening. The fast food chain dedicated to ham products developed a ham-powered game console! Sterling Hotels are haunted, and frequently employ a crusty old sailor to deal with supernatural enemies. MNNH News English has become something of a celebrity on the Fediverse due to intense genre-awareness.


Brands Town has been one of the goofiest, weirdest, and funniest projects I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve met some truly brilliant people who love nothing more than to joke around all day and pursue ridiculous ideas together. I’m constantly blown away by the biting satire, ingenuity, and deep knowledge of our target audience

The project has slowed down someone since its major explosion of creativity, but it still exists. We have an active chatroom full of people brainstorming together, a pile of free ideas that not enough people have claimed, and a truly ridiculous amount of shitposts.

Please join us, help us keep the fediverse weird, and help make the network unpalatable to actual brand marketing. 🥺

You can join in on the silliness over at!

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.

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