Guest Post by: Hamid Sirhan

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen plenty of memes and read various different articles, tweets and blog posts about actor Charlie Sheen. But do you know what he did for work experience website internships.com?

Charlie Sheen banked on his ‘meltdown’ by creating a record breaking Twitter account. How record breaking? Try 1 million followers in one day.

Five days later, on 7th March, he sent a tweet for internships.com using ad.ly (a Tweet ad specialist) which said:

“I’m looking to hire a #winning INTERN with #TigerBlood. Apply here – http://bit.ly/hykQQF #TigerBloodIntern #internship #ad”.

Internships.com will have paid at least $100,000 for him to do this. So was it worth the payoff?

According to data published on Techcrunch, for the period March 7th – March 11th 2011 internships.com saw (with usual traffic etc removed):

  • 1,035,021 unique visitors from 475,375 original link clicks
  • 82,148 internship applications
  • From which 50 highly-qualified candidates were selected

These figures not only show the power of leveraging celebrity on Twitter but also the importance timing. Internships.com picked the perfect moment to benefit from Charlie Sheen’s social media influence – the height of #tigerblood #winning hashtag spread– and they reaped the benefits. What ever you may think of Sheen’s lifestyle, these numbers are another little bit of evidence which proves that value of Twitter as a marketing tool.

That’s not to say that all brands should jump immediately jump on the celebrity endorsement bandwagon; you still have to be careful when leveraging celebrity.

During the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster in Japan, Hollywood actor Gilbert Gottfried (best know for his role as Iago the Parrot in Aladdin and for co-staring in the Problem Child movies) was fired by insurance company Aflac for some very insensitive tweets. Aflac, the top foreign insurance company in Japan, get 75% of its revenue from the Japanese market. With this in mind it would have been sensible for someone from their team them to contact Gottfried as soon as the earthquake occurred to ensure he put his ‘humorous’ quips on hold – particularly when he’s known for making insensitive remarks during or shortly after disasters.

So it there are definitely pros and cons to using a celebrity to endorse you brand. Given the rate at which things can spread online these days, make sure you consider any and all outcomes before using the power of  celebrity in social media. Remember these people could be viewed as a  spokesperson for your brand so its important to consider whether the timing and their persona is appropriate for how you want to position yourself.

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2011/03/twitter-internships-com-and-the-power-of-celebrity-charlie-sheen-2/

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