Charlie Sheen, Twitter and the Future of Brand Marketing

Contributor:  Gina Scanlon
Posted:  03/08/2011  12:00:00 AM EST
Rate this Article: (4.6 Stars | 7 Votes)

If the world were like Inception, Charlie Sheen would be its Leonardo DiCaprio. His PR team has been on a roll and his face has managed to grace everything but the milk carton. But quite possibly the most fascinating development among his latest PR stunts is his newfound Twitter page.

For an individual who doesn’t appear too tech savvy, this has raised some eyebrows. Furthermore, he has vowed openly to use Twitter as a source of revenue. That’s right, America. Charlie Sheen is going to suck capitalism dry.

Sky News reports that, “Sheen said he planned to make $1m by the end of this year after signing with Ad.ly - a firm that sets up social networking endorsements for 150 brands.”

Brand Channel reports that Ad.ly “pairs brands and celebrity endorsers on social networks,” and “now sharing its metrics, Ad.ly's new Consumer Influence Index tracks the celebrities that drive the most consumer traffic to advertisers’ sites.”

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And he isn’t the only one. Kim Kardashian is reportedly charging up to $25,000 to endorse products and other celebrities and sports stars like Lindsay Lohan and New York Jets center Nick Mangold have also started tweet-profiting.

What does this mean for the product marketing business? Will this idea actually help sell products when the celebrities themselves appear to not be directly tied to the brand, such as those who might contract Sheen via Ad.ly? And is it ethical?

Michael Biondo, VP of Customer Operations for Thumbplay, is one of the most social media-savvy professionals I’ve come across as of late.

In regards to celebrity Twitter endorsements, Biondo says, “I'm a bit torn on this topic - I certainly believe that paid recommendations may not be genuine or authentic.  I say may because it is also possible that the celebrity/influencer is a fan of the product and wants to help to get the word out and the income is just icing on the cake.”

As for whether or not the development is ethical from a marketing industry standpoint, Biondo added,

“The FTC is looking at including "paid endorsement" messaging to be included in this such chatter. This should help followers identify genuine vs. suspect mentions.  I do believe recommendations from one’s social circle have much more of an impact. At the end of the day, Caveat emptor.

Caveat emptor indeed.

Gina Scanlon Contributor:   Gina Scanlon


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