New Orleans Saints Players Promote Local Newspaper With Pay-Per-Tweets

    October 26, 2011

What are your thoughts on sponsored tweets? Do you ignore them or interact with them? Would you trust a sponsored tweet if it was issued by a sports entity you liked/admired/idolized? Of course, the concept of Promoted Tweets has been a part of the Twitter experience since spring of this year, as the social media behemoth tries to monetize all that content.

But what about promotions that aren’t included with Twitter’s advertising aspect? Would you trust them if they came from somebody in the public eye? In New Orleans, the Times-Picayune is trying its hand at promoting its website,, with a little help from perhaps the most popular aspect of New Orleans, players from the New Orleans Saints, which begs a question or two:

Would you visit if Drew Brees asked you to? Even if it was through his Twitter account? What about if are getting paid to do so?

That’s what the newspaper is banking on, and while Brees is the most popular of the Saints players to take part in the promotion, he’s by no means the only Saints player to do so. From the article in question:

Under a contract with Advance Digital, players Drew Brees, Lance Moore, Tracy Porter, Pierre Thomas and Jonathan Vilma each tweeted praise for the newly redesigned Saints community on this month and included a link to the site, urging their Twitter subscribers to check it out.

So if one of these popped up on your Twitter stream, would you even want to visit the site being promoted or would you bypass it for more tweet reading? Here’s an example of these posts, taken from Brees’ Twitter account:

Hey, Who Dat nation! Get the latest #Saints news at #endorser 8 days ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Who Dats! If you didn’t join the NOLA Saints community this morning at http://taps/oYlykS join now! #spon 7 days ago via Twitter for Android · powered by @socialditto

Notice the “#endorser” and the “#spon” hashtags? Of course, that’s not the same as Twitter’s official “Sponsored Tweet” logo, but it serves the same purpose. Are these tweets a conflict of interest, considering just how much coverage the team receives at Another question comes to mind when looking over these sponsored tweets: Why haven’t more newspapers gone this route, especially if there’s a local team that has a rabid fan following?

Drew Brees has almost 700,000 followers, and if his sponsored tweets get a one percent clickthrough rate, that’s still 7000 additional visitors potentially receives. I’m not sure there are any newspapers out there that would turn down an additional 7000 visitors on a day-to-day basis.

H/t to The Big Lead for pointing this out.