The lack of sophisticated influence metrics had begun to take
its toll on major PR firms such as Interpublic Group of Cos.'
PMK-BNC, one of
Hollywood's largest publicity shops, with a roster of more than 300
celeb clients. "We had a problem, because if you go to Washington,
you hire a lobbyist to do what we do. But now if you come to
Hollywood, you do it yourself," said Chris Robichaud, co-CEO of
PMK-BNC. "People are
making multimillion-dollar decisions based on nothing or gut
instinct. Clients will say, 'I have a Q score, but what do I do
To help connect the dots of its clients' (and comparable
celebrities') influence, awareness and likability, PMK-BNC has introduced a new
measurement tool, FanDNA, in partnership with Interpret. The tool
compiles quarterly data on top actors, musicians, models and
athletes to rate their appeal to certain affinity groups, match
them with the most-appropriate brands and ultimately measure the
impact of their branding deals.
Take Ashton Kutcher and Charlie Sheen, two celebrities who've
seen significant changes to their FanDNA in recent months. Prior to
his public meltdown, Mr. Sheen had a "Power" score over 130 (highly
influential), making him an ideal fit for brands such as Wrangler,
Volkswagen , Volvo and McDonald's at the end of fourth-quarter
2010. Post-meltdown in second-quarter 2011, his score dipped to
102.4, making him a better fit for edgy brands such as Red Bull,
U.S. Army, the NFL and Nascar, according to Interpret's data.
Conversely, his "Two and a Half Men" replacement Mr. Kutcher had a
score of 129.2, and a tech-savvy, family-friendly following that
made him a good fit for everyone from gaming companies to Dairy
Queen to Toys "R Us.
Beyond metrics, social media can also help celebrities proclaim
their love for brands that eventually turn into formal endorsements
-- or in the case of actress/web-TV star Felicia Day, a whole web
series. Last year, Ms. Day tweeted to her 1.4 million-plus
followers about her love for a game called "Dragon Age." Mr. Ruiz,
her agent at ICM, happened to be talking with "Dragon Age"
publisher Electronic Arts about collaborating on an original
digital series for an upcoming title, one of which happened to be
"Dragon Age II." Ms. Day, who gained popularity for her role in
Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" and as creator/star
of "The Guild," a series now sponsored and distributed by Microsoft
, quickly signed on to create a multi-episode series based on a new
character with a narrative that coincides with "Dragon Age II."
This is the kind of endorsement that would prompt Ms. Day to
tweet on a brand's behalf. "The last couple of years I've been
approached quite a bit to do large-scale campaigns, just like a
random tweet for a brand," she told Ad Age . "My personal internet
activity is sort of sacrosanct. I try to keep it as agnostic as
possible and not use it for any financial reward. My goal is to be
an artist in this venue."
But as more celebrities,from Kim Kardashian to Bravo's "Real
Housewives," are being paid to tweet about endorsements and at
public appearances on behalf of brands, more marketers are writing
social-media guarantees into their contracts. "We're starting to
hear in negotiations, "We'd like to include X number of tweets or
Facebook postings,'" said Peter Hess, co-head of commercial
endorsements for Creative Artists Agency. "It's similar to
traditional advertising -- instead of two commercials, now we want