Backstory to Charlie Sheen's Twitter Push

By Robert Marich
   March 13, 2011-Charlie Sheen’s amazing splash on Twitter—going from zero to 900,000 followers in one day—is a case study of a celebrity belatedly taking control of his persona and attempting to cash in. In comparison, famous radio shock jock Howard Stern had 350,000 followers after his first month on Twitter.
   A Forbes magazine story by Andrea Spiegel notes that Beverly Hills-based digital media marketing boutique (unusual name!) handled Sheen’s launch on Twitter. Of course, Sheen is the Hollywood bad-boy extraordinaire who was fired from his lucrative TV sit-com Two And A Half Men for over-the-top behavior. He’s also a movie star with starring roles in Oscar Best Picture winner Platoon, Major League and Wall Street among his film credits.—which was founded in 2009 by Sean Rad—is now a 22-person company that specializes in being hired by celebrities – Hollywood and sports mainly-- to project them into cyberspace and the agency also has some corporate clients, according to Forbes. Sheen gets money by endorsing products via his Twitter streams that lines up.
   An Advertising Age story reveals that Sheen’s name was held by a squatter on Twitter so persuaded Twitter to re-assign the name to the real actor, clearing the way for him to launch March 1. The Ad Age story is a Q&A with CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh, who was asked how the squatter was dislodged given Twitter does not police its accounts. “We know a bunch of people at Twitter,” responded Gullov-Singh, “and we reached out to them and told them that probably the biggest name in media right now wants to be on your platform and, of course, they were all right with it.”
   Money talks but also this is fairness!
   A blog on The Atlantic notes among Sheen’s endorsements is a website for students seeking internships. In a Tweet, Sheen directed recipients to go there if they wanted an internship with him. More than 74,000 people applied.
   Marketing to Moviegoers: Second Edition notes the deep-pocket consumer goods companies steer clear of disreputable celebrities, as evidenced by Tiger Woods being dropped by prestige outfits because of marital difficulties. So it's no surprise that Sheen is getting associated with small frye entities like the internship website.
   In years past, popping up on commercials as endorsers was considered declasse for movie stars, though that stigma is slowly going away. For his part, Sheen seems to have few inhibitions, which is part of his appeal. However, the long term value of the Sheen brand is questionable and it’s not clear if he will make meaningful money on endorsements with little outfits.
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