In the old days, advertisers paid big bucks for a celebrity endorsement. Michael Jordan, according to Forbes, earned $60 million in 2011 mainly through his endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances(1).
The world is changing, and those days are over pretty much. Or…
APPAREL magazine’s January article (http://goo.gl/SeVbE) discussed how bloggers are the latest tool fashion brands are using to promote their products – “and one need look no further than the multiple collaborations some brands have orchestrated with bloggers for proof that this is true.” Bloggers are the new Jordans. Only they are a lot more cost effective.
But wait a minute: I thought “social media” was supposed to shun advertising? My writers have been telling me to keep the sell out of my tweets and postings– or risk being shunned. Really?
Take Danny Chung, a 24-year-old “social media strategist” who is cited in the article. He writes about personal style and the fashion industry on his blog the modman (http://goo.gl/Sr0Q2). He observed quite rightly: “We’re in a time where there’s so much competition among brands that are vying for consumers’ attention, especially when it comes to digital and social largely because they want to tap into the audience and be exposed to a new consumer base.”
Let’s make a slight correction: this isn’t a new consumer base. It’s the same consumers who have taken to the social media air waves. And, Chung and his fellow bloggers have tapped into a gold mine.
Think about it: all a blogger has to do is convince a brand they have influence, and bingo: they are Michael Jordan. But don’t believe me: read what APPAREL reported:
In late March, Chung announced that he would become a Coach guest blogger, a month-long gig previously executed by 11 other bloggers to date. The bloggers use Coach bags and apparel to create three looks that are featured on the brand’s website. In exchange, the bloggers feature posts about Coach products on their own sites. Chung used items on loan from Coach to show his readers how to work the brand’s bags into their own wardrobes. A post offering an inside look at the inner workings of Coach’s leather goods workshop followed in July.
You Too Can Be Like Mike
Anyone can blog. By definition, that means anyone can be like Mike. Talking, endorsing, and talking again. It’s a beautiful world we live in.
According to APPAREL, Chung declined to say whether he was paid for his work with Coach, but that he expected “the exposure his blog would get from the partnership would be payment enough.” But some bloggers do take money (i.e., another guest blogger is quoted as saying anybody that renders their services wants compensation. And, Chung has passed on other opportunities because he “didn’t feel connected fully with the brand or the product.”).
Celebrity in Advertising on hubpages (http://goo.gl/Gvtyr) gives a good overview of the topic of endorsements by celebrities, but our point is that if you are on the Internet, you can be paid for your opinions IF you get a following. But then, how different is that than what traditional advertising was for the testimonial? Heck, what is advertising anyway? The line continues to blur!
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(1)Forbes, 9/22/2011, The Business Of Michael Jordan Is Booming, by Kurt Badenhausen.