Mid 2013, ET had reported that an Indian health portal is close to signing a special endorsement deal with Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, not for her strikingly good looks but for the 4.2 million followers that she has on Twitter. She would tweet about the portal but it wasn’t clear how much the actress was paid. Since then the trend of paid celebrity tweets has grown.
Today Priyanka is no more just a Bollywood actress but a global one. Her Twitter followers count is more than 10 million followers and a latest ET report says that top stars like her charge Rs 10-12 lakh per Tweet.
Not just Priyanka, most Bollywood celebrities at some point have been part of such tweet deals. For instance if you scroll through the Twitter feed of Neha Dhupia you would find tweets about fashion brand Chola, Veeba foods, Vogue magazine, cosmetic brand Kiehls and Renault.
Yummy in my tummy !!! 😍😍😍 https://t.co/AIQhAV5d6l
— Neha Dhupia (@NehaDhupia) August 7, 2015
— Best Deal TV (@bestdealtv) July 19, 2015
Similarly, actors like Sonakshi Sinha, cricketer Yuvraj Singh, celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar are among those who are signing ‘tweet only’ deals. This involves posting messages in support of brands for a fee of Rs 1-5 lakh per tweet. The bigger the followership and influence, the bigger the amount.
ET’s claim that the trend of sponsored or paid celebrity tweets, widely prevalent in overseas markets, is catching on in India, isn’t true. It isn’t just catching on in India – it’s flourishing!
Today most of Bollywood, television and sports stars are present and very much active on social media. Over the years they have figured out that their fans are hooked to digital, so from promoting about their work to brand endorsements, these celebrities are juggling both on their social media profiles.
“Electronic brands to companies like Hindustan Unilever and everyone in between use celebrity paid tweets these days,” said Uday Singh Gauri, CEO of talent management firm Exceed Entertainment. “The reach and effectiveness of these tweets is massive. Earlier, companies used to pay a lot more to do events with a celebrity to reach just a few hundred or thousand consumers. Now with just one celebrity tweet they can reach over millions of potential customers.”
With the growing reach of digital, today celebrities are smarter and also quite particular about what they tweet when it comes to endorsement. Moreover, they also maintain a healthy mix of paid and non-paid tweets. For instance if you scroll through the news feed of Sonakshi and Priyanka, you would find both stars constantly engaging with fans in the form of live chats. This way even the followers don’t mind the brand endorsed tweets by these celebrities.
This is exactly what im doing right now! Gnite 😊 (thanks neha 😘) https://t.co/5aZVEmvEbL
— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) August 12, 2015
Ok I’m gonna go now guys!!! Work beckons!! Thank u for all ur questions! Will do another one soon!
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) August 11, 2015
Brands have also become watchful while approaching celebrities for digital reach, they also look at what kind of community these stars drive and the kind of conversations they drive on the platform. The recent endorsements by Sonakshi are related to fashion, lifestyle and brands that target the youth. Her recent tie-up with Asus India and television show Indian Idol Junior are some of the examples.
— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) July 19, 2015
Some celebrities tweet only on one genre and DJ Nikhil Chinapa is a classic example where he is mostly seen tweeting about his love for music. However, these days he is tweeting about #DiveDiary for Fleetfoot Adventures.
There could be a debate on why celebrities are not disclosing it when they tweet a brand endorsement. The simple reason being the huge influence they draw, as well as followers not being aware which tweet is paid and what isn’t. This could mislead fans.
The latest episode where US drugs regulator has condemned Kim Kardashian’s promotion of a morning sickness drug on social media is a case for reference. The celebrity posted a selfie on Instagram last month holding up a branded bottle of the pills alongside text endorsing their effects. The medicine’s maker, Duchesnay, later confirmed it had compensated the TV star for “sharing her experience”.
But the Food and Drinks Administration has attacked the posts for failing to flag potential side effects.
In India, the Nestle Maggi case has been an eye opener for celebrities after some of the stars endorsing the product were caught in a legal soup. Post Nestle incident, Bollywood celebrities are more cautious before tweeting brand endorsements. It’s the time for Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to start taking a look at social media endorsements and not wake up after a mishap.
Nevertheless, with digital growing in the country, this trend isn’t going to stop; it will only grow.
Image credit: Fastcompany