Celeb tweets popular in Australia

28 October 2010

SYDNEY: The trend for paid Twitter endorsements has gained traction in Australia, with some celebrities earning five-figure sums per tweet.

Bruce Kaider, president of Sponsorship Australasia, said he was aware of high profile Australian sporting heroes having been offered fees of between A$500 ($486, €351) and A$10,000 per tweet.

This reflects trends in the US, where big players such as Microsoft, Sony, American Airlines, Toyota and AT&T have all bought into the single endorsement strategy as part of their sponsorship programmes.

"Some celebrities have 50 to 100,000 people engaged with what they're doing every day, so it's a great direct marketing piece," Kaider said.

But he added that Australians have been slower to pick up on the trend than Americans.

Zoe Warne, founder of August, the Melbourne-based digital advertising agency, also highlighted possible reputation risks for celebrities who could be tempted by the short-term gains offered by Twitter endorsements.

"There will always be that temptation and there will always those that will go through with it, but they are risking their integrity and reputation and Twitter is a very public type of forum," she said.

Marketers also face a tough regulatory environment, including US rules which currently require celebrities to incorporate the words "ad" or "spon" when they are paid for an endorsement.

If these rules are being circumvented, Warne sees the transaction amounting to something akin to "cash for comments".

Scott McClellan, executive director of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, said that celebrity tweeting would inevitably fall under the existing advertising code of ethics in Australia.

"We believe that abbreviated terms like 'spon' will very rapidly be understood by consumers as being commercial in their nature and people will learn there is a cost associated with accessing the material," he added.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by Warc staff