Charlie Sheen

Well, apparently Charlie Sheen had it right. Who would have thought “Winning” was the right word for him to use when he was in the midst of his nervous breakdown/publicity blitz last year? Winning is one of those words that copywriters have designated as a “Power Word.” And because words have the ability to connect readers with emotions, savvy advertisers have been secretly (and not so secretly) influencing you by slipping these words into their marketing to create compelling copy. But, do they work? Maybe.

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.

Charlie Sheen’s deal with Ad.ly, a Los Angeles-based company that brokers social network endorsements for brands like Toyota, Hyatt and Microsoft, is perhaps the highest profile example of a celebrity getting paid to tweet. The news puts a spotlight on the emerging trend of companies compensating celebrities who have large Twitter followers like Kim Kardashian and Lauren Conrad to talk about their brands through social media.

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