Pitbull’s Twitter & Facebook contains ads: A rare look at celebrity social media marketing contracts

Rapper pitbull performing with dancers on a stage
“Pitbull (Austin, Texas, 2015-02-07)” by Ralph Arvesen, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This week, after a long, contentious battle over making the contract public, the rapper Pitbull published his 1 million dollar contract with the State of Florida via his twitter account.

Most contracts between talent and agency are usually confidential, but because it was with a governmental agency, it could be public domain (hence the contention). What we do know for sure, however, is that it offers us a rare glimpse of one of these contracts and the role of social media advertising from celebrities.

Under section 4.3, Social Media and Email we find:

4.3.1 Social Media

A. The Contractor will provide Talent’s digital services team to make in aggregate a minimum of two (2) social network posts each month on each of Talent’s various social media channels. (e.g., 2 Tweets, 2 Facebook posts, etc.) in support of the VISIT FLORIDA mission to promote tourism; and including the social media hashtag “#LoveFL”. The manner and method of these posts shall be in accordance with Contractor’s organic approach to assure the authenticity of the posts and to avoid over-saturation (e.g., December may include myriad posts and January far less) and with due consideration of Contractor’s activities and demographics and to avoid any alienation of Talent’s fans given the general non-commercial nature of Talent’s social media sites. Where appropriate the posts shall include the presence of Florida photos in a manner consistent with Contractor’s past activities. The Contractor will include a creative written call to action to drive traffic to VISIT FLORIDA’S Facebook page (e.g., “Like VISIT FLORIDA’s Facebook page) when posting on Pitbull’s Facebook page.

B. Contractor will provide reporting that includes proof of all social media network posts as indicated above. 

4.3.2 Email Contacts

A. The Contractor will work with VISIT FLORIDA staff to drive social media and email traffic to allow an aggregation of at least 500,000 email contacts for potential solicitation by VISIT FLORIDA for tourism activities/information. The Parties will work in good faith to create terms, conditions and procedures to assure that collection of all data is in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, including without limitations the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). All aggregated emails and user data acquired by VISIT FLORIDA in connection with Contractor will be shared with Contractor. 

What we can learn from the above:

  • It’s not really Pitbull posting on these pages. He, along with most public figures, has a “digital services team” posting on his behalf.
  • Celebrities get compensated for posts on social media sites. I’m sure Pitbull loves Florida, but the reality is, he’s getting paid to post on their behalf.
  • Some celebrity social media posts are ads, and they don’t want you to realize that. Reading the above, it’s obvious VISIT FLORIDA wanted the posts to be “authentic” and not come across as ads. This is an ethical issue for me, I’m not a fan of ads that are designed so people don’t realize they are ads. But, it’s prevalent with celebrities and social media.
  • The goal is to capture your information. VISIT FLORDIA’s goal is clear, they want to capture email addresses for at least 500,000 people for purposes of marketing to them. And they aren’t alone; most similar promotions are all about information capture.
  • And your information will be shared.  Not only is VISIT FLORIDA capturing people’s information, once they have it, they are going to share it back with Pitbull’s marketing team so they can also market to those people. This is very common as well.

Thanks for posting the contract, Pitbull (team):

I appreciate Pitbull’s team posting the contract. I think they saved themselves a lot of further public relations headaches by doing so and, as the title of this post says, it gives us a rare glimpse into one of these contracts.

With that said, what it shows is disheartening; there’s no more of an illusion that celebrity social media accounts are an ad-free zone. I think most people know this, intuitively, but having such concrete evidence of it public makes it hard to ignore.

 

Affiliate marketing vs. pyramid schemes

In mentoring a student last week, I did a deep dive on affiliate marketing. What I found was that there seemed to be a lot of confusion as to what was affiliated marketing and what was a pyramid scheme (especially when pyramid scheme operators use the term “affiliate”).

 

Why it’s an important distinction

Quite simply, pyramid schemes (also known as multi-level marketing) are bad news. Many who find themselves a part of a pyramid scheme end up losing money due to startup costs, quitting their jobs to work on the scheme, etc. They also end-up losing their friends and family because the schemes emphasize recruiting friends and family into the business, which usually backfires.

The promise is the potential for large gains in money, but the reality is much different. The Finance Guy did a great breakdown of costs and income on pyramid schemes. For example, in 2010, active Amway members made an average of $2,424 per year. Their costs? $3,600 per year. So, they lost $1,176 on average per year.

But the main reason to stay away from pyramid schemes is that they are a scam, and because you are recruiting others in the scam, you could be charged with conducting illegal behavior.

Affiliate marketing isn’t without faults (potentially poor products, ethical issues such as disclosing you are an affiliate, etc.) but as a general rule, affiliate marketing is considered legitimate.

 

The difference between affiliate marketing & pyramid schemes

The main question to ask is: What is the primary way you make money?

In affiliate marketing, the primary way you make money is selling a product or service. You refer people to the company and the company pays you based on the number of referrals or the sales from the people you referred. For example, if you have a blog with a link to company’s product and that company pays you a commission for any sales that come from the link on your blog, then that’s affiliate marketing.

In a pyramid scheme, the primary way you make money is recruiting others. You may make a little bit on sales of a product or service, but the real money is recruiting others to sell the product or service and for them to recruit others. Usually the pitch goes something like “If you recruit ten people and they each in turn recruit ten people, then you could make a lot of money!”

 

Think about how viral content is shared to ensure your message stays intact


Kellogg Community College math professor, Marcus Anderson, created the YouTube video “Bad Email Reply – What not to say to your professor…” above and it recently went viral. I personally saw it on my Facebook newsfeed and on my Feedly.

The problem is, only PART of his message went viral. The video was shared, but not his comments below it explaining that the email was a fake example and that he hadn’t violated student privacy by sharing it. This lead to a lot of people becoming very upset at him.  On his YouTube page for the video, he explains:

“Most importantly, that email was not a word-for-word copy of a student’s email. This is a mash up of many poor emails, some common email mistakes and some of my own embellishment compiled into one email. Let me repeat: I would never post an email of a student to the Internet nor would I suggest anyone else ever doing that. Therefore, cartmanrulez99 is not real person.”

Again, because this information was in the comments section and not in the actual video, when the video is embedded (like it is above) and shared, the complete message is lost. For example, here is the description from Laughing Squid for the video:

Marcus Anderson, a math professor at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, recently created a video where he critiques an email sent to him from one of his students. The student, whose email address starts off with “cartmanrulez99″, writes to the professor as if he is a best friend for life, drops a winky face, uses shortcuts when spelling out words (u, lol, and thx), requests handouts for each of the four classes missed, and then goes ahead and asks for the actual class book.”

What can we learn from this

The big takeaway for all of us is to really think about how our messages could be shared and take any steps necessary to make sure that the message we want to communicate stays intact. In this case, the message that it wasn’t a real student should have been included in the video.

This also serves as a great reminder to check the source of the information you receive. Until I clicked-through to the YouTube and read his comments, I also was under the impression that it was a real student email.

Are Big Companies Engaging On Social Media The Way They Should Be?

Today, Likeable Media published an article I wrote titled, “Are Big Companies Engaging On Social Media The Way They Should Be?” on their blog. Click on the link and check it out!

 

Put down the camera and enjoy the moment

A male pointing his camera at an object that we can't see
From flickr ginnerobot

Not too long ago, I read an article by Clifford Pugh on Culture Map titled, How Instagram is ruining New York fashion week: Shows are meant to be savored, not shot and it got me thinking. I like fashion, but what intrigued me more was what he had to say about how our incessant need to photograph every little thing and how doing so was robbing us of those moments that we should be enjoying.

This may not be true for everyone, but it is for me: The more photography, videography and visual imagery becomes part of my job, the more obsessed I’ve become with obtaining the “perfect shot.” I will wander around looking for the perfect lighting, the perfect person to represent what I need, etc. and then take hundreds of photos in a single hour. Obviously, if it’s for my work, that’s what I do, but this obsession has crept into my personal life as well.

So, last week, while I was on vacation, I tried to put down the camera. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t. And, admittedly, my obsession and her talent led one of my friends to take one of the best portrait shots I’ve seen in a very long time. But, there were a few times during the week that I was able to stop myself, put down the camera, and just soak the image in.

Reading Clifford’s article reminded me that sometimes the true beauty of something cannot be captured in a photograph, it can only be captured in a memory.

Sacrificing accuracy for speed in the news media and online

 

I’m sure there will be a lot of lessons out of the Asiana Airlines crash. One of those lessons/reminders for public information professionals should be that we should definitely try to be fast with our information, but not so fast that we publish incorrect information.

As you can see in the video above,  KTVU-TV out of Oakland, California, announced the names of the crew on the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed. The problem? The names were incorrect and offensive. To be fair, someone at KTVU did check with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), but, according the NTSB’s public apology, “a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.”

News media as well as public relations professionals and other public information officers are under tremendous pressure to deliver news and public information fast. But time and time again we are seeing stories of how moving so fast and not checking accuracy can do some real harm, especially in the age of Internet sharing including social media.

The Asiana Airlines KTVU-TV reporting incident is a good reminder to us all: Check your information and then double-check your information prior to releasing it.

5 million U.S. households without TV. My house is one of them.

A laptop sitting on a chair hooked up with an HDMI cable to live stream content.
Bye bye expensive TV service, hello HDMI cable. Photo from flickr: tawalker

 

USA Today  published an article about the 5 million U.S. households without TV. I’m very proud to say that my household is one of them. After interviewing more and more college students (my target audience) without TV, I decided to try it . It was a struggle at first because I was so used to relaxing in front of the TV, but now I can’t imagine having TV service.

 

Some notes on the lifestyle:

– I physically HAVE a TV, but if you turn it on, nothing happens. But, I can play DVD’s on it and hook up my HDMI cable to stream anything from my computer to my TV. Some of my friends have taken it even more to the extreme by removing their TV altogether.

– I find I read a lot more now, which is great!

– I can live stream pretty much anything I could want (presidential debates, etc.). The only time it failed me was my Thanksgiving tradition of making fun of the poor people freezing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The live stream wasn’t working.

– In the rare event that I want to watch a sporting event live, I go somewhere and watch it, which is no different from what I was doing before because I wouldn’t pay for ESPN.

– It doesn’t limit my capability to keep up with advertising trends since so much is also online now.  If someone mentions a particular commercial to me, I’ll bring it up on YouTube. If I see an ad campaign that intrigues me, I’ll go online to check-out their broadcast ads.

– My only costs now are my internet service and my $8 something a month for Netflix. I’ve heard rumors that cable companies are trying to figure out how to charge people like me for watching so much online, but I haven’t seen anything concrete yet other than faster speeds costing more.

– As the article points out, I’ve often thought about what I’ll do when I have kids. Although, I had two four-year olds running around my apartment this weekend and I found, in the absence of any toys, that Netflix’s Batman cartoons worked really well to keep them busy for a while.