It's a well-known saying that when you're given lemons, make lemonade. A less well-known saying: when you're given a celebrity train wreck, make viral marketing.
That's the thinking of L.A. Beverage Group, in a million dollar offer for the recently disgraced and never hotter or more in demand Carlos Irwin Estevez, better known to America as "Charlie Sheen."
But Sheen's recordbreaking arrival on Twitter suggests the actor has other endorsement ideas in mind.
L.A. Beverage Group has made public an offer of $3 million to Charlie Sheen for the actor's endorsement of its energy drink, Just Chill.
The Chill Group did include some strings with their offer: "The Chill Group would like Charlie to complete 30 days of in-patient treatment at the Sober Valley Lodge in Beverly Hills. Additionally, the Chill Group has stipulated that Charlie must not make any additional media appearances."
Whatever the ostensible motivations of the stipulations aside, the combination of the high-dollar amount and the oddball offer from a brand nobody has ever heard of are already working. The New York Daily News and OK! Magazine have already reported on the offering, providing Just Chill with tens of thousands of dollars in free exposure.
It's no surprise that the brand's manager, Russell Fager, is just 23 years old. This gonzo brand building approach, in which an impossible offer is made to an embattled celebrity that he or she will never take and the press reports on said offer, creating loads of publicity for the brand. The master of this strategy is Hustler's Larry Flynt.
It's a ballsy maneuver and it only works for the right kind of brand — one with minimal marketing budget seeking free press (including this post!) Bravo, Mr. Fager.
Sheen, of course, has already tacitly endorsed two 'chill' beverage brands. On his road to blowing the doors off Twitter followers by hitting a record one million followers on his first day, his first tweet showed him and a girlfriend hoisting bottles of Naked juice and a little-known local California brand chocolate milk.
No product placement was involved on the part of the brands. He simply grabbed the drinks from his fridge to make a visual pun for his first ever tweet showing the Naked brand (hot babe) vs. the wholesome, child-like innocence of chocolate milk to illustrate his #chooseyourvice message as a comment on his lifestyle choices.
But as brandchannel has already examined with the going celebrity rates via Sponsored Tweets, Sheen's 140-character missives, to 1,113,000 and growing, could be worth a pretty penny. Lindsey Lohan, with just 1,002,269 followers, was billing nearly $3,000 per tweet.
And tht's certainly Sheen's angle — major attention (check), grab the spotlight back from CBS (check), prove his draw as a personal brand (well, a crumbling personal brand) — check, check, check. Although he's been the highest-paid actor on US TV with his $2 million per episode CBS deal for Two and a Half Men, he likely wouldn't say no to sponsors jumping on his Twitter rockstar status.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Sheen partnered with Ad.ly, which bills itself as "Celebrity endorsements on Facebook, Twitter and more. We help brands connect with consumers through the most influential celebrities.."
Now, the only question is, which brand will be Sheen's first Twitter sponsor?