For many companies, a celebrity endorsement is the holy grail of public promotion. However, for companies that can’t get a celebrity to endorse their product directly, the next best bet may be to just attach themselves to the things that celebrities do and leach off of the associated publicity.
Recently, Ashton Kutcher decided to race CNN to see who would become the first Twitter account to reach a million followers. To up the ante, he told his followers that if he was successful, he’d ding-dong ditch (or in Ashton’s case, ‘punk’) CNN’s founder Ted Turner:
As word spread about the race, Electronic Arts used the buzz to announce that they would give a special prize to Ashton’s millionth follower: A custom character in their upcoming game, The Sims 3, as well as a copy of every game that EA makes in 2009. In addition, and to hedge their bets, EA also announced that regardless of the winner, they would donate 5,000 mosquito nets in the name of the millionth follower to add to the 10,000 nets that Ashton promised to donate for World Malaria Day. The buzz that was created by the announcement resulted in a number of high-profile blog posts for EA, including Kotaku, Destructoid and Joystiq.
On April 16th, Ashton did indeed get his millionth follower (about eight hours ahead of CNN) which means that one lucky fan will see his or her very own face in The Sims 3, and EA gets to do a second round of press releases and press events to announce the winner. Sounds like a win-win for everyone if you ask me.
- Uses existing buzz to reach a wider audience.
- Attaches the brand to a celebrity without the need for a direct endorsement.
- Offers a prize that doesn’t cost EA a lot, but is essentially priceless to the winner.
- EA had to take sides, and could have been on the loosing end of the race.
- With Twitter and other