Are Advertisers Taking Advantage of Lindsay Lohan?
By Maggie Coughlan Posted Jul 7th 2010 02:35PM
Just before Lindsay Lohan appeared in court Tuesday, she surprised her Twitter followers with a tweet about a sale on Louis Vuitton bags. For someone facing a potential jail sentence, heralding a sale seemed rather inappropriate. The post, sponsored by online auction site FashionBay, proclaimed, "OMG!? An LV bag for $1 at FashionBay! Maybe I can get lucky and win something cool here!"
While it probably wasn't the best time for Lohan to bust out a sponsored tweet, as she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a 90-day inpatient rehab stint soon thereafter, the advertiser may have been looking to capitalize on Lohan's emotional sentencing. And it worked -- the post was quickly retweeted by more than 100 people!
Lohan is no stranger to ad placement in her tweets. Just last week, she tweeted, "I love Fendi!! Beyond the Rack has it today for 50% off. I love this place!" A few days earlier, in a truly odd pairing, LiLo posted, "Want to get up to 75% off on great vacation deals? Just got a few invites to this exclusive site. Join now & RT." Both tweets were supplemented with links and the word "ad."
Ad.ly is one of several companies aiding celebrities in making money through ad placement in tweets. According to Ad.ly, the service "enables you to monetize the valuable content you are producing in streams like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Ad.ly pays you to send an ad to your followers on behalf of brands you love (like an ad unit placed inside your stream). You get to approve every ad that gets sent to your followers to ensure authenticity."
Kim Kardashian, 50 Cent, E! Online, Ashlee Simpson Wentz and Soulja Boy are among Ad.ly's top "publishers," who are paid by advertisers to tweet in favor of a brand or product.
In Lohan's case, timing was everything. As the Internet buzzed about her appearance in court, the FashionBay-sponsored tweet went live. Then, just a few hours later, Lohan met with Judge Marsha Revel to learn her fate -- the news of which dominated Google searches all afternoon.
Was the decision to run a sponsored tweet the morning of Lohan's court appearance a stroke of marketing genius? An act of desperation on Lohan's end? Or simply an insensitive play on the downfall of a once-successful actress?
Sean Rad, founder and president of Ad.ly commented that "advertisers plan their campaigns months in advance and do not pick publishers based on their news standing."
Last January, several sources revealed that many celebrities were paid to tweet about brands and services. OK! Magazine reported that "celebrities including Nicole Richie, Kim Kardashian, Whitney Port and Audrina Patridge can reportedly earn up to $10,000 per tweet for companies including Sony and Nestle."
Kardashian later lashed out in the New York Post, saying, "Am I not allowed to talk about something I like without people assuming I must have been paid to do it? ... I want my fans to know what products, gadgets, foods, clothes and beauty products I like."
Twitter advertising has expanded from sponsored tweets to "promoted trends," where brands can pay to appear in the list of "trending topics" or hottest terms on Twitter.
Lindsay in Court
Lindsay Lohan reacts to a judges sentence at the Beverly Hills Courthouse on July 6, 2010 in Los Angeles. More Photos >>
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