Getting paid to tweet about products?
I’m encouraged that the UK Office of Fair Training are clamping down on Tweeps and bloggers that are paid to be effusive about products whilst not admitting that they receive payment. The use of Twitter reaches new heights for communication (there were 6,939 Tweets per second sent on January 1st according to the Twitter blog). People are communicating more, and celebrities have a huge set of followers. So should they append tweets with ‘ad’ or similar to show that they have been paid to do this?
In companies like Microsoft, bloggers and Tweeps receive a salary, so it’s natural that they would enthuse about company products. Their opinions are (generally) their own and they put a personal perspective to the standard PR campaign about the product. But celebrities don’t tend to work for companies so is it right that they get paid to talk about consumer products.
Look at the TV adverts. The voice over, or the ad itself shows celebrities talking about the product. They don’t explicitly say that they are being paid to advertise the product. We’re intelligent enough to assume that they are. So why do the OFT need to get Tweeps to ‘explicitly state’ that they are promoting products. Surely we all just assume that they are being paid when they enthuse. or are we assumed to be so dim. that we blindly assume that they love these items AND have been paid for them? Did all of those women actually buy those dresses they wear at the Golden Globe awards or the Oscars? Surely not…
But does the fact that these celebrities endorse brands, and enthuse about them mean that we’re going to be more influenced by them and buy goods? We’re much more likely to buy products recommended by our peers (figures vary from twice to 4 times more likely to do this). But are we more likely because a celebrity endorses the brand.
Do we now class these celebrities our peers and our friends just because we follow them on Twitter?
There are new rules for online advertising that are coming out in March and they now include User Generated Content (UGC) on web sites. Here’s a snip from the code…
When the new code comes out in March 2011, will Tweets from paid celebrities be included in the CAP remit? Will it change the way that Facebook page campaigns work. It will be interesting to watch things develop…
Perhaps I’m too cynical – but I’m less likely to buy something that a celebrity has endorsed – whether they are paid for endorsing the product or not. I’d much rather consider something that one of my first degree connections has enthused about.
Or AM I too cynical??
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