Celebrity Marketing: Social Media Stars from the Webby Awards 2017

The Webby Awards annually celebrates the best the internet has to offer, spanning hundreds of categories in six unique fields – Websites, Social, Film & Video, Mobile Sites & Apps, Podcasts & Digital Audio, and Advertising, Media, & PR.

Each category has two winners – one chosen by a body of industry experts and technology innovators, and the other by the voting public. These winners represent some of the best creators on the Internet today. The Webby Award stars are a great pool of talent to find premier social media influencers for a celebrity marketing campaign.

The social influencer landscape changes daily, which is why we’ve updated our 2016 list.

Here are some of the Webby stars you need to know in 2017:

  • Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight, identical twin fashion vloggers, won the People’s Voice for Best Celebrity/Fan for their YouTube channel BrooklynAndBailey, which owns over 4.5 million subscribers. A high percentage of their YouTube comments gush over their eyes and mascara, pushing the 16-year-old girls to possibly partner with a makeup brand or begin their own makeup line.
  • Claudia Oshry is the envy of anyone who does anything – literally. Oshry is a 2017 Webby nominee for the social media category “Weird” for her wildly popular Instagram handle @girlwithnojob. Oshry, who is unemployed, takes to her Instagram to post what she calls “relatable humor”, posting pop culture memes to engage her 2.8 million following. Captain Morgan has already taken a liking to Oshry’s high engagement, and was able to draw 4,000 people to a Las Vegas event simply because Oshry was their host.
  • Hank Green took home the honors of People’s Voice Science & Education (Channels and Networks) winner thanks to his daily YouTube series SciShow. The show’s mission is to make science applicable and interesting. The channel has 4.6 million subscribers and is largely due to the fact that SciShow listens to its following. The videos posted on Tuesdays and Saturdays directly answer fan questions, giving avid viewers a reason to residually visit the channel.
  • Corinne Leigh, an eccentric YouTuber, is best known for her lifestyle DIY channel ThreadBanger. Corrine, alongside her husband Rob, are winners of the People’s Voice Film & Video Best Web Personality. Corinne and Rob are constantly posting content revolving around baking and science. Recently, the duo posted a video that revived the short lived Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, gaining 1.6 million views in under four days.
  • Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are the winners of the Interview/Talk Show (Podcasts & Digital Audio) Webby for their booze infused podcast, Another Round. This Buzzfeed couple covers everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes. Nigatu and Clayton have the knack to get their guests to open up about hot button topics and then end their talks by getting their guests a round of drinks.

This year’s Webby bunch is a great place to find top tier creators and YouTube channels that are transforming the traditional celebrity endorsement landscape.

photo credit: www.vimeo.com


How to Target In-Demand Celebrities Who Match Gifting Goals for Celebrity Marketing

gifting pic

Four strategies to increase celebrity gifting results.

Gifting is the act of giving a brand’s products to high-profile, trend setting celebrities. The goal is for the celebrity to be seen with the gift, increasing brand awareness. This celebrity marketing tactic works best when there is either coverage of the celebrity using the product or when the celebrity talks about the gift with friends and news of it spreads through word-of-mouth.

The best way to ensure that celebrity gifting will have the desired effect is to identify your marketing goals and know what it takes to achieve them.

Here are four general objectives of celebrity gifting and strategies to help reach them:

Social Posts: If your goal of gifting is for the celebrity to take a picture or write a post about the gift, the best approach is to send gifts to celebrities within your budget or to those who will be most likely to sincerely enjoy the gift. Unfortunately, as social media has evolved, celebrities now expect to be paid for posts about gifts. The only time compensation is not needed is when the celebrity loves the product and has been using it a long time. Even then, some celebrities still ask for money.

Get it in the hands of influencers: Use the most direct line you have to the celebrity, whether that is their home or publicist’s address, to guarantee they will personally see the gift. As trend setters, just getting gifts in the hands of people with influence can have a big impact. Celebrities who truly like and/or use your product are much more likely to talk about it within their circle of friends and put the word out in interviews or on social media.

Make a brand image/statement: gift BIG. In order to make an impression on both the celebrity and the public, put together gifts that are bigger than life. Personal, creative and extravagant gifts will stand out to celebrities among the loads of other gifts they receive. With a unique gift, they will be more inclined to both talk about it with friends as well as post about it on their social media pages.

Get a picture placed in a publication: As explained in a previous post, set-up shots are pictures taken that look “real” but are actually coordinated on behalf of the brand. In order to create a good set-up shot, and have it appear in a publication, it is best to hire a specialized photographer who has expertise about which celebrities look good in the media right now and ones who can virtually guarantee a placement.

photo credit: Pixabay.com

Scheduling a Celebrity Marketing Campaign

Make sure your Brand’s campaign schedule fits with the celebrity’s schedule before you sign a contract.

Understanding the demands of a celebrity’s schedule and how it could affect your campaign is often overlooked until it’s too late. These potential conflicts will cause a delay in your campaign, making it less effective and wasting valuable time and money.

Here are some tips to help alleviate frustration while coordinating with a celebrity’s schedule:

1. Scheduling the Offer

Start the process early to allow plenty of time for communication and to ensure you have gathered all of the essential information.

Availability: The first step is to speak with the celebrity’s agent to verify that their schedule will allow for coordination within the timeline of your marketing campaign.

Keep in mind, a celebrity is often not in control of their schedule. Their commitment to a sports team, television show or movie filming will dictate availability.

Based on the information you gather from the agent, you can time your offer accordingly.

Give them time: Giving the celebrity and their team time to review and consider your offer before they respond, will increase your chances of an acceptance.

It is crucial for the management team to have enough time to connect and discuss the terms of your offer with the celebrity. Procrastination on your end and not allowing sufficient time is a recipe for a quick no.

2. Scheduling Negotiations

Agents need time too: Agents negotiate for a living and typically resist pressure to move forward or commit too quickly. Be sure to provide plenty of time for review, revisions and negotiations.

It’s not always about the money: Remember, this is not the celebrity’s primary income. Your offer and their engagement in your marketing campaign is secondary and not necessarily needed.

3. Scheduling Filming and Service Days

Athletes and actors have restricted time off due to sport seasons or filming schedules.

Budget for overtime: Weekends are more likely to be available, so be sure to budget for overtime.

Be efficient: Consolidating the shoot materials will help keep the number of service and production days to a minimum. Less days will lower your cost and reduce scheduling headaches that are bound to come with a celebrity who is working.

Confirm: Be clear in your communication to the celebrity’s agent. Discuss availability upfront and confirm key dates (production and service days).

4. Scheduling Approvals

Realistic time frame: The approval timeline is typically determined by the agent and is based on how quickly (or not quickly) they are able to properly communicate and review the materials with the celebrity.

Before you go public: Once the production and service days are complete, the celebrity and their team will need to approve the materials before they are released to the public.

In conclusion, if you are mindful of a celebrity’s schedule and make the whole process easy, most celebrities will go above and beyond for you and your brand.

photo credit: eliazar via photopin cc

Celebrity Marketing: Six Tips for Hosting a Celebrity Twitter Party


A Celebrity Twitter Party is a great way for people to connect and promote your brand.

A Twitter Party is a specific period of time during which a celebrity “takes over” your brand’s Twitter handle to socialize and answer questions from fans on behalf of your brand. These events not only allow for direct fan interaction with the celebrity, they can also accelerate your brand’s message to a massive audience within 1-2 hours.

To ensure you get the most out of your celebrity led Twitter Party, here are six tips for managing this social event:

1. Training Pays Big Dividends

Holding a training session with your celebrity before the Twitter party is KEY. You need to know that your celebrity is fully prepared and knowledgeable about your brand. An informed celebrity is a confident celebrity, and one who will be able to successfully deliver your message points.

2. Publicize Ahead of Time

To ensure you gain a significant amount of fan engagement, you must start marketing the event several days before it begins.

Utilizing your various social media channels, your party invitation should include the following:

  • Who (featured celebrity)
  • When (date and time of the party)
  • What (topic/party theme)
  • How (hashtag # to join the party)

Choosing a celebrity who has a large social media presence and following will help enhance your reach. Make the most of their influence by having them tweet or re-tweet from their personal account prior to and during the event.

3. Time the Party to Reach Maximum Fan Base

Planning a later start time, typically late evening, will attract more people across multiple time zones. Setting an event at 6:00pm EST can eliminate participants in the West Coast who are still in their work day.

4. Connect the Party Theme to the Brand Message

For example: If you are a beauty brand; your theme could be Top 10 Beauty Questions. With the topic in place, the celebrity will then make the engagement between your brand and the audience, educational, entertaining and fun.

5. Partnering Expands Promotion of the Party

Partnering with a relevant blogger or media partner can be very helpful. In keeping with the beauty brand example as shown above; teaming up with a well-known beauty blogger to cross promote will increase your number of event participants, as well as grow your consumer base.

6. Monitor the Engagement

Social media platforms, such as TweetReach, will provide an overview that will measure the number tweets, how many accounts your hashtag (#) reached, and who were your top contributors.

Be sure to note the number of social media followers (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) you have before and after the campaign as well as monitor your own website analytics.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Celebrity Marketing: Five Barriers to Completing an Endorsement Deal


Negotiating directly for a celebrity has pitfalls.

Brand marketers and agency executives often complain about how difficult it was to close a celebrity deal. It doesn’t have to be a horror story. In fact, it usually is a win-win for both parties. Here is my list of the five biggest barriers to complete a celebrity deal:  

1. Call or email me back!

The biggest complaint is I can’t get an agent to respond! Why? Because agents receive so many inquiries many are “fishing expeditions”, requests that go nowhere. Most executives say the response back, or lack thereof, was a bigger issue than money or negotiations.

2. Who is the real agent?

Also troublesome is the person claiming to be the agent actually is not the exclusive agent. When a non-exclusive agent is involved, he or she inevitably will have to work with the legitimate representative, and tack on an additional fee. These added dollars may come as a percentage (between 10%-25%) or as a flat fee on top of the deal.

Even worse, this third-party may be enough to kill your deal .  Most marketers make the mistake of assuming the agent who claims to be agent is the actual agent.

Oftentimes, it’s hard to tell if agent, manager or publicist make the ultimate decision.  How would a novice know this type of invaluable information? 

Even worse, your offer may never reach the celebrity because the agent may fear the non-exclusive agent will try to steal their client. Agents do not want to involve others who may pose a threat to their exclusive representation! Knowing the difference between who is legitimate and who is a leech looking to profit, is often the difference between delivering or destroying a deal.

3. Unknowingly signing a celebrity with “baggage”   

Background information on celebrities is more important than ever. But how does your company uncover the kind of information needed to make an educated decision on an endorser? This information is seldom available to those who do not track celebrities on a regular basis.

The worst scenario involves negotiating and reaching an agreement only to find out the celebrity has a past which does not match the corporate image you want to project. Of course, there are no guarantees that a celebrity will remain a good citizen, but the least you should do is consult an expert about what due diligence needs to be done.

4. Having a negotiation drag on and on and on and then die

I worked with a brand marketer who was negotiating directly with a top tennis star’s agent/father. The executive was forced to spend over eight months in negotiations only to be turned down for no other reason than “they just aren’t interested.”

Holding out can drive the celebrity’s price up, as the agent realizes the longer they wait, the more “under the gun” you may become.  Agents work for celebrities. If being difficult or demanding helps agents receive the best deal for their clients, that’s what they’ll do!

Time-consuming negotiations are typical and intentional with inexperienced executives. Negotiations take a few days to a few weeks and not longer in almost all cases.

5. Being labeled as a “one-timer”

When a brand marketer or advertising agency calls an agent directly, the deal is viewed as a one-time opportunity to max earnings & creates little or no incentive to negotiate.

Mistakenly, most executives do not give proper weight to leverage in endorsement negotiations when many times it is the strongest point they may have on their side.

Having a history of bringing multiple deals to agents is an invaluable volume leverage for a brand trying to keep costs in line. A celebrity agency/expert can provide significant volume leverage and savings for a brand it lacks on it’s own.

Celebrity negotiations don’t have to be long or contentious. They should be done quickly and create a win-win partnership.

photo credit: ell brown via photopin cc

Celebrity Marketing: The Danger of Negotiating with A Celebrity Directly

celebrities and brands

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client” – Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln’s quote is true in a court of law, yet is it true in the marketing world with celebrities?

Many marketing executives believe it is as easy as calling an agent and negotiating a deal similar to any other project they might work on. Unfortunately, this mind set is hazardous to a marketing budget and hiring the celebrity a brand wants.

 If you or your brand is involved in litigation with thousands or millions of dollars at stake, do you represent yourself, or do you hire a litigation attorney who specializes? When your company seeks a new senior executive, does it scan the want ads or hire an executive search firm who specializes in your industry? 

Even when companies work on specific projects, expert consultants are frequently used.  With any celebrity endorsement, how many companies have essential inside information on competitive conflicts, other contract fees, and their fair market value?

The answers are obvious, so why do brand marketers continue to personally negotiate celebrity contracts? 

In many cases, the lure to negotiate and ultimately befriend a star is irresistible.  Sometimes this “star-blinded” marketer assumes negotiating with an agent should be straight forward and even is some cases, easy.

Negotiating directly with celebrity agents without knowing the fair market value and estimated fees for other current contracts grossly exposes marketers to serious problems, especially overpaying. The money issue then turns into the question of perceived value versus actual value, not a very good point to be at in the decision-making process.

Why would it cost me more money to negotiate with a celebrity directly?

Let me answer with the following real example:

One ex-NFL Pro Bowl quarterback was paid $500,000 for a one-year campaign by an ad agency representing a new client eager to break into the sports industry. Why did the client overpay by up to $375,00.00? Because the agent played hardball and gave them a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum and the client was afraid that all similar names would be as expensive. Unfortunately for the client, the athlete had signed another spokesperson deal within the year for $375,000 less less than what the eager company paid.

Not knowing fair market value is dangerous and could even cost a brand its first choice. No one should settle for second, third or even fifth choice and risk not meeting brand objectives.

So what is the best way to proceed?

With billions of dollars spent on celebrity endorsements annually, it will remain a fixture in mainstream advertising.  Yet, even as the task becomes more daunting with ad budgets and sales revenues at stake, many marketers continue to blindly negotiate with celebrity agents.  To avoid this trap, many brands use an expert to step up to the plate.

photo credit: laverrue via photopin cc