Thursday, July 02, 2009

Celebrity Product Plugs...in Social Media

Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where there are still few things more enjoyable and sacred than a Fourth of July with family, friends and some good food and drink. I hope you all had a great holiday!

Shawn Johnson (the gold-medal gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champ) is one of the few celebrities I follow on Twitter (@ShawneyJ) - she's obviously an incredible athlete and person, and I think she's a lot more human in social media than most people with her level of fame. And I think it's interesting how in the past couple of days she's started Tweeting about Crest White Strips...how they're helping her, how they provide value, etc. I would be shocked if she were doing this on her own...Crest probably has her inked to some sort of sponsorship deal.

This appears to be one of the first examples of a celebrity plugging a brand/product through social media, and I think this is a great case study of how it can be done well for two primary reasons. First, Johnson works in her Crest mentions smoothly, completely in her normal tone and style. It doesn't read anything like typical advertising/PR/promotional copy - it's very easy to grasp, and it seems very much like something she would have told you if you were standing two feet apart. Second, she doesn't beat you over the head with it - since starting on June 29, she's written a grand total of four Tweets mentioning White Strips. That's in between 2-3 Tweets a week. If there were too many messages, the celebrity's objectives would seem too obvious, and that might be negative for the brand and the celebrity plugger. But this frequency seems like just the right amount (or maybe just a bit more would be okay) to keep the brand and product on the top of followers' minds.

No doubt that this is the tip of the iceberg - as athletes, celebrities and brands of all kinds look to gain more mindshare in social media like Twitter, these sorts of partnerships will become much more common. I think this one is being executed well, and it should help both the celebrity and the brand/product. And it will be interesting to see how this kind of marketing takes shape in the coming months. Will Shaq get involved? Danica Patrick? Others?

What do you think? Will more of these partnerships be forged? What do marketers/celebrities need to keep in mind when plugging brands and products in social media? Comments welcome.

That's all for now. I'm out like the Marians (Gaborik and Hossa).

36 comments:

jgoldscher said...

Ace, I think this is the future, like it or not. Marketers are getting more innovative, consumers are getting used to advertising in all media, and brands are forging alliances that help connect them with their audiences. I'd be interested to see what the reaction would be if (for instance) Derek Jeter tweeted on behalf of his health clubs.

I do agree with you - if it's going to be done, it's critical that it be a good match (as apparently is the case here).

Christy Hammond said...

Good eyes Ace! I definitely think this is just the start of things to come. Marketers seem to tap everything that could be used to promote their product/service. Celebrity Twitter accounts seem like a great place to start. They just need to make sure the plug doesn't overwhelm the user's tweets and seems natural -- you don't want it to come off as a blatant commercial because users will likely just tune it out.

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