Photo: Instagram/Lauren Conrad
Former entertainment lawyer and Lindsay Lohan manager Michael Heller is changing the way celebrities promote products with his New York based company, Talent Resources, a global strategic marketing firm.Instead of obvious celebrity campaigns, Heller uses celebrities to stealthily draw attention to companies by posting photos to their social networks.
“The wave of the future is putting brands with celebs on smaller activation, but not marrying them to the brand long term,” Heller explained to The Hollywood Reporter, adding: “We’re finding ways that don’t necessarily make the celebrity a full endorser for the company. Instead, they are ambassadors for the company organically and quietly.”
Here are a few recent celeb and company collaborations we bet you didn’t realise were set ups:
- Robert Pattinson smoking an electronic cigarette at the New York premiere of “Cosmopolis.” “I personally gave Robert Pattinson those electronic cigarettes at the wedding of my friend,” Heller told THR. “It was before he and Kristen Stewart broke up. I gave it to both of them.”
- “At a recent event for Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough,” Heller explains to THR, “Hough was picked up in a Kia car, tweeted about the car, thanked Kia and was seen using the car. TR [Talent Resources, Heller’s company] then took all of the images and sent them to several platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and blogs.”
- Talent Resources rents a beachfront home in Malibu for two months during the summer where they throw parties, brand-sponsored events, charity functions and private dinners. According to THR, “This year’s eclectic mix of Malibu events included Ashley Tisdale’s birthday party, a Taylor Armstrong charity event and a joint birthday bash for Minnie Driver and Kathleen Robertson’s sons in July, then a Hello Giggles Party with Zooey Deschanel, a birthday party for Diana Ross’ son and a Dancing With the Stars cast BBQ in August.”
- During an event at Talent Resource’s Malibu summer house, Adam Levine’s new musical protegé Rozzi Crane brought John Mayer and Lauren Conrad along for her listening party at the party property. Unsolicited, Conrad took a picture with a life-size cutout of the Kia Motors Hamster and posted it on Instagram. Heller’s team sent it out to the web, and the photo had more than 38,000 views within 24 hours. Plus, said Heller, “This shows you the power of celebrity. She took picture with her iPhone. I didn’t ask her to. She’s doing my job at my event. It’s amazing.”
Heller was personally behind each of these product placements. [We reached out to Talent Resources asking the financial breakdown of the deals, but our requests for comment have not yet been returned.]
In September, Heller will lead Talent Resources into New York Fashion Week with a Modelina gifting suite and Style 360 Fashion Show featuring lines from Avril Lavigne and the Kardashians.He’s also producing a few films on the side, including “Arbitrage” starring Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere and “Adult World” with Emma Roberts and John Cusack.
But Heller’s main focus is running Talent resources, who presently do six key events during the year: The Malibu summer house, the Sundance Film Festival, the Super Bowl, Coachella, the Kentucky Derby, Fashion Week and a labour Day polo match in the Hamptons.
“I love Talent Resources and what it does because I feel like I created this bridge that didn’t exist,” Heller explains to THR. There are 100 people making movies, but not many bridging celebrities with brands … It gives us opportunities to expose talents and expose brands in cool, organic way.”
“I look at it as the new way of advertising because everything is going viral,” adds Heller. “At the end of the day, we’re getting the message out there just as well as any advertisement. If I have an event, 45,000 people are looking at it on Facebook now.”
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