Jimmy Carr tweets for Starbucks on free latte day

Starbucks, Hammersmith, pic by Sarah JohnsonYou can not have failed to notice the Starbucks promotion this morning that offered everyone a free latte today before 12 noon (check out Brand Republic’s Pinterest board for pics). With free coffee on offer it isn’t much of a surprise to see it get so much attention, did you get one?

We’ve been hearing of branches packed out around the country as people queued up to try out the new double shot latte, but Starbucks has also been doing a bit of a Snickers and hired some celebrity tweeters to pump the promotion. Comedian Jimmy Carr for one has been enthusiastically tweeting away.

The tweets don’t say they are ads (see below), but we’ve heard from Starbucks PR firm Edelman that this is planned activity (Update, he shot a video, see below).

Tom Callow, consultant at Sceptre Social Media, who noticed the tweets: “Perhaps Jimmy Carr is just a big fan of Starbucks, but it’s interesting that he was so willing to mention the attributes of the new and improved latte. Followers can be sceptical about celebrities mentioning companies and may have suspicions about paid-for tweets, but we shouldn’t forget that they might just be fans of the brand themselves.”

It is also not the first time he’s shown his support for Starbucks and his tweets today have been very well retweeted. Nice for Starbucks to have someone like Carr on board tweeting away to his almost two million followers:

Carr’s tweets follow the advertising watchdog clearing the controversial Snickers’ Twitter campaign after ruling that tweets from Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand were identifiable to the public as advertising.

The Advertising Standards Authority had received two complaints about tweets from glamour model Price and footballer Ferdinand, which formed part of promotional activity for Snickers owner Mars, undertaken by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

The celebrity tweets were probed by the ASA after they seemingly wrote out-of-character “teaser” Tweets about knitting and the economy, before posing pictures of themselves with the chocolate bar.

Although it is obvious to most that Carr’s tweets are ads should he have to say it clearly? Should there be some kind of ad tag?

  • http://www.foreignstudents.com Afshin Rohani

    He was filming a promo at Starbucks in Mayfair:


  • Alex

    Twitter is not TV. Twitter is not a newspaper. It’s not traditional media. I don’t really see the need to police it like that – what someone says on their private Twitter account is entirely up to them. If users realise that some celebrity is tweeting advertising all the time, they can tell, and they’re perfectly entitled to drop them and follow someone tweeting something a bit more interesting.

    I’m more concerned with the way users’ timelines are hijacked with ‘promoted’ commercial tweets that they did not choose to subscribe to or read. Twitter’s strength is that you are free to follow whoever you like, to read – or not read – whatever you like – or at least you used to be.

  • @gordonmacmillan

    Thanks for the YouTube link, I’ve added that.

    @Alex, agree, people follow who they like and you probably don’t need to mark everything, but if you follow someone because you like their tweets it might be nice to know if the tweets you are reading are paid for by a PR firm to plug products.

  • Alex

    I dunno, I think we’re still applying the rules of an old paradigm (broadcast and print) to an entirely new and different one. Should what a private individual says in a conversation at the pub come under similar scrutiny? In some senses, Twitter comes closer to that than a TV broadcast or item of print media.

    I’ve always been a pretty firm believer that the internet can largely police itself. It’s too big and too free for corporations, criminals or governments to ever really mess it up.

  • http://www.alclarke.com Al Clarke

    Alex – I accept that online media is new territory, but it’s still about old fashioned trust. If someone in the pub recommends a hotel, I expect them to tell me if they’re getting a free meal or discount for doing so. That’s not about old v new media, it’s about transparency. I don’t care that Jimmy Carr wants to sell access to his followers, or how much he has been paid – it’s a commercial transaction and he has built up his following – but we should know if he has been paid.
    I think sponsored v editorial are oil & water – they’re not a natural mix and will soon separate after agitation!

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