Stealth Advertising

Last Sunday I stumbled across this article in The Age that focused on the ethical issue of celebrity ‘pay for tweets’. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to; it’s when a company pays a celebrity to tweet about their product or service. Anything from a good review about a hotel, to a picture of them wearing a brand can and has been used.

Matt Moran Kangaroo Island Tweet

Yes that’s right; your favorite celebrities are making a bit of extra cash by exploiting the fact that you admire and trust them.

The reason marketers are finding secretive celebrity tweet endorsements so appealing is because:

14% of people trust advertising, while 78% of people trust a friend’s recommendation.

As celebrities are part of our lives in so many ways today, it is an effective method for marketers to communicating to large audiences, who trust this medium more than they trust print, TV or radio. People see celebrities as friends.

Many are finding these ‘pay for tweet’ celebrity endorsements an ethical issue that need to be addressed. The main suggestion has been to make the celebrity state when the tweet has been paid for.

The difficulty in controlling an issue such as ‘pay for tweets’ is that it’s almost impossible to differentiate between a celebrity who is actually satisfied with a product or service from a celebrity who has been paid to tweet positive reviews about a product or service.


What’s your opinion? Should celebrities have to disclose when a tweet has been paid for OR is it something we should just get used to?

In my opinion it is just another form of advertising that we will eventually learn how to spot and ignore.

It looks as though we will have to get used to seeing it more and more.


4 thoughts on “Stealth Advertising

  1. That’s an interesting issue! Did Miley Cyrus REALLY enjoy Black Jet’s service? Who knows…

    I think the main thing is that people need to be aware that this is happening otherwise they will be brainwashed and automatically assume everything tweeted/posted/spoken from their favourite celebrities is real. After it is up to them to evaluate whether or not it fits with their brand image. Once you follow a business or celebrity enough, you will notice and understand their online behaviour because their actions are often consistent. If the posts are not consistent, people should question this (especially if ads are subliminally shown in these posts).

    In other words, I agree with your statement, “it is just another form of advertising that we will eventually learn how to spot and ignore.”

  2. Hello, there.

    Frankly, I would just move on with my life. It’s not as innovative as it sounds. I’m used to seeing celebrities wearing their best smiles or waving their shiny hair thanks to products that they may not even really use. I think the twitter approach is only an inevitable step to advertising.

    I don’t think they should disclosure it, as Machiavelli would have said, “for a deceitful mind, there is always someone willing to be deceived”. That said, I think most people will figure it’s advertising anyways. Those who don’t, well, ignorance is bliss!


    • Thanks for the comment and interesting point. I completely agree, most people will pick up on this pretty quickly and for those who don’t “ignorance is bliss”.

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