Pitfalls of Celebrity Tweets

The price for sponsored tweets keeps increasing, which signifies industry acceptance of this marketing method. Less than two months ago, Kim Kardashian reportedly earned $10,000 per paid tweet; today, the figure stands at over twice that amount. She makes a whopping $25,000 without lifting a finger as she doesn’t even write the posts herself. She’s certainly not alone in her willingness to exploit the micro-blogging site for personal financial gain.

Celebrities ranging from Ashton Kutcher to Nichole Richie earn extra income by allowing ads in their Twitter streams. It’s exceedingly difficult to measure the effectiveness of such campaigns, but there’s certainly no shortage of eager investors.

Still, this strategy poses interesting ramifications for those willing to shell out the cash. Rapper 50 Cent repeatedly encouraged his followers to pour their resources into a bad investment. While his motivation didn’t stem from direct payment from the company in question, 50 Cent owns a significant number of shares in the business. As such, he indirectly profited from these promotions. Curiously, none of his messages contained any indication of their commercial nature. The tweets may not qualify as traditional advertising, and inadvertently exposed a loophole in Twitter’s identification system. Nevertheless, his actions violated federal law and the associated firm faces the threat of prosecution as well. Other stars involved in Twitter penny stock scandals include Carmen Electra and Shaquille O’Neal.

Conflict of interest issues aside, there are other potential problems involved with star powered promotions. Out of work actor Charlie Sheen publicly turned to Twitter with the intent to capitalize on the so-called “cash cow”. Sheen’s record breaking Twitter debut following a rash of incoherent interviews earned him a massive audience within less than a week. Since his every post seems to turn into a trending topic, advertising executives are quickly estimating the value of his endorsements.

The ample amount of followers likely feeds Sheen’s ego, but there might be a degree of miscommunication going on. Sheen’s antics provide comedic relief for many. In all probability, his Twitter followers are tuning in for a daily or hourly dose of crazy. In other words, the vast majority won’t take his advice seriously. The misinterpretation of his media attention undoubtedly benefits Sheen’s bank account, too, yet their value for advertisers remains questionable. Celebrity tweets represent unique branding opportunities, but what company wants to be affiliated with insane tirades or erratic behavior?

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