Posted on Sunday, 16th January 2011 by Bill Bean
Twitter is being used to hock schlock. Shocked? Surprised? Me neither. Every communication channel gets used/leveraged/exploited to sell, whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea.
I’m a cynical guy. I’m aware of this and attempt to keep it in check. But my cynicism got a good tweaking from a short article in Business Week. Seems some pollyannic thinking had seeped in to my social media subconscious.
Celebs, of varying types of celebrity, are getting paid for Tweets. Some of these are ghost Tweets (insert Etrade baby feigned shocked face here), actually written for the celeb by someone else. Is there no shame?
Examples (from the article):
“Want to know how Old Navy makes your butt look scary good? Ask a Kardashian ” ~Khloe Kardashian
“They say boys will be boys, some longer than others. This weekend, see Grown Ups, now playing! Get tix here” ~ Michael Ian Black
“Hey ladies, who might be PMSing like I am, or just hungry dudes, I heard @Arbys you get a free JR Deluxe TODAY!!!” ~ Jenny McCArthy
“these homies know the deal” ~Snoop Dog for Sienna minivans
“looks like I need to invest in a fleet of Sienna minivans” ~Mark Cuban also for Toyota
According to the article, Kim Kardashian collects somewhere in the vicinity of 10K per Tweet. If Khloe gets anywhere near the same fee, she could buy a lifetime supply of Old Navy apparel. Heck, I’d settle for $100.
For some reason I was a little surprised at how blatant and contrived this is, assuming the examples are typical. However, I’m more surprised that I was, at any level, surprised. I let my cynical guard down for a moment. What was I thinking?
I don’t hold it against these people. This sort of sales & marketing is woven in to the fabric of our daily life. If someone buys a pair of Old Navy jeans because they believe Khloe Kardashian thinks it’s its cool, or buys a Sienna minivan because Snoop says so, then more congratulations to those companies. Silly or not, it ain’t breakin’ no laws. (though I am disappointed in Cuban)
The service profiled in this particular article is advertising agency Ad.ly. And in case you were wondering, this is where Punky Brewster ended up.
Because it is some times interesting or funny, I do follow some celebs on Twitter. I will continue to do so (try William Shatner). I am going to increase the level of cynicism and move them all to a special column in Tweetdeck.