Celebrities, Brands, and Social Media

July 9th, 2009 by

There are a number of celebrities using twitter and social media these days.  Some of them have their people do all the updates, some of them only update occasionally and others update regularly and interact with their fans on a regular basis.  However last night I saw a level of interaction from a celebrity that I hadn’t seen previously.

Hannah Montana star and pop music starlet Miley Cyrus spent a good chunk of her night interacting with female fans on twitter.  It all started around 9:40pm when Cyrus posted a picture of herself without any makeup and then about ten minutes later she called for a girls night with her tweeters.  For the next hour Cyrus interacted with a number of her fans and exchanged beauty and skin care tips.

A Tweet from Miley CyrusThe night ended with a series of tweets from the actress telling the girls on twitter to believe in their own beauty and not to ever think that they are ugly.  In all honesty her words were heartfelt, kind, and even a bit inspiring.  But at the end of the girlie makeup fest I was left wondering; was this staged to push products or was this just another teenage girl chatting it up with other girls online.

I’ve mentioned in the past my concerns with social media and honest opinions, and I wonder if the same concerns should apply to celebrities.  We all know celebrities are endorsed by various brands and last night Cyrus dropped brand names like crazy.  In fact nearly every response to her fans included a brand and occasionally the twitter account for the brand.  While I thought the outreach from Cyrus was amazing and unlike anything I have seen come out of almost any musician or actor to date, it did leave me to wonder about the motive behind this impromptu girl talk.

Was Miley Cyrus just enjoying a late night chat with the girls, or was she setup by her agent to push some products?  In the few days that I have been following Miley Cyrus on twitter I will say that she seems like a really sweet girl.  Very down to earth, very genuine, so at the core I want to believe it was just a bunch of teenage girls have a virtual slumber party.  However the marketer in me and the skeptic are wary.

What do you think of stars dropping brand names on social and microblogging sites like twitter?  Do you think the opinions are legit or are we as consumers being left open to product endorsements? Weigh in in the comments below!

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2 Responses to “Celebrities, Brands, and Social Media”

  1. Anna says:

    I don’t really mind if it’s endorsement or just love for a favorite brand. I mean do celebrities always have a “choice” on what they do? They do, but we don’t always make it easy. If they don’t do what the public wants, then they are out. So if I was a celeb, I’d keep endorsing, but find a way to make it good for others and more meaningful at the same time. If that’s what Miley did, then I think it’s great. If she did it just because she wanted to have girlie chat, that’s great too 🙂

    • Mike Wilton says:

      Anna, I don’t think it’s a problem either. Celebrities have been endorsing products and pimping brands for as long as I can remember. The catch here is in HOW they do it. Was this night of “girl talk” just an opportunity to engage her fans, or was it setup to endorse products? I’m more willing to buy a product that someone genuinely likes and supports than a product that just has a pretty face on it. So if Miley Cyrus was really just sharing her preferred cosmetics I’m fine with that. But if there was something more to it then I think it’s a bit deceiving, which is the same kind of thing the FCC is after with bloggers endorsing products.

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