Ashton Kutcher

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Schrodinger's cat. Marketers may not like to think about it, but they may be marketing to consumers who are both alive on the Internet and dead in real life. In the offline world, data hygiene is a bit simpler—despite the human interest stories about dogs receiving direct mail, there are far fewer pseudonyms to wade through to find correct proof of life on those lists.

Fab.com is a pioneer in social retailing, the kind of e-commerce site that encourages shoppers to discover and select products through crowd-sourcing. It sends out emails daily, alerting design mavens to flash sales of whimsical, limited-edition items—like candy-colored typewriters or clear plastic coasters embedded with gummi bears—and offering a variety of ways to share their favorites with friends. Founded last June, Fab has already racked up more than 4.5 million members, who collectively shell out about $400,000 on a typical day, the company said. But behind that fast success is a new social media math.

For as long as there have been celebrities, there have been companies paying them a pretty penny to endorse their products. A celebrity spokesperson can make an advertising campaign iconic (think Cindy Crawford and Pepsi), help a brand become relevant to a new generation (Lady Gaga and Polaroid), or—when done poorly—hurt a brand’s image. Remember The Situations’ unintended endorsement of Abercrombie & Fitch? With more brands forgoing traditional advertising media and turning their attention to social media ad spending, it’s no surprise that "Celebrity Tweet Endorsements" have become big business.

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