Athletes are popular. Which is why they’re some of the most followed people on Twitter.Now, companies are finding ways to cash in on this popularity.
Last month, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick tweeted:
“Check out these prizes from the McDonald’s monopoly game”
The tweet was followed by a link to McDonalds’ website.
Is Vick as excited as the rest of America’s fast food nation to find the elusive Boardwalk game piece?
As Rovell points out, a third party hiring an endorser without their clients’ knowledge is a potentially dangerous proposition. How much background research does MyLikes do on its endorsers to confirm their past doesn’t contradict the product they’re supporting?
Especially for an athlete as polarising as Vick.
The quarterback tweeted out another advertisement for a kitchen site and received some entertaining responses:
“Dude, I’d rather you look at your recipes to carve up Dallas secondary Sunday night!”
Pay-for-tweets isn’t just for products. Publishers are also using it.
In a questionable journalistic move, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is paying five Saints players to tweet messages referring readers to the newspaper’s sports homepage.
Will this affect the paper’s portrayals of Saints’ players when the team or individuals struggle? Not at all, says John Hassell, vice president of Advance Digital, owner of the Times-Picayune.
“There’s full transparency. There’s no suggestion that the act of paid endorsement by a player reflects on the coverage of the Times-Picayune,” Hassell told the website.
Only time will tell what this means for Saints’ coverage. Or the next time Drew Brees throws four interceptions in a game. But media ethics educators are sceptical.
“On its face, that is an obvious conflict of interest,” Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at The Poynter Institute told the Times-Picayune. “The problem is that you’re creating a dual relationship with the very people you’re covering.”
But it’s also creating highly profitable opportunities for businesses and organisations. Which is why, until the practice backfires, companies will employ this new marketing edge.
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