Fallout From Sponsored Athlete Tweets?

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Earlier this week, we discussed the New Orleans Saints and their sponsored tweets for NOLA.com. Essentially, the idea is to attract more Saints fans to the site, but some are wondering whether or not these kinds of tweets, especially for those who tweet for advertising companies instead of the company being sponsored.

That, apparently, has been something Michael Vick has been doing for a couple of companies, as you can see for yourself:

Follow @MusclepharmPres and get his Bizzy Diet Fat Loss plan and the Get Swole plan tweeted out to u. 21 days ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Check out these prizes from the McDonald's monopoly game >> http://lx.im/1r9q1 - spon 27 days ago via Echofon · powered by @socialditto

Actually, Vick has been tweeting for a company called MyLikes, and they have companies -- like McDonald's -- who buy into their program, leading to tweets from Mike Vick about McDonald's Monopoly. The truth is, McDonald's does not employ Vick, but because of their partnership with MyLikes, as well as Vick's, we have another vicarious partnership between the two, even though neither entity approached one another.

In fact, I'm not sure how McDonald's would feel about a person with Vick's record being a spokesperson, regardless of his post-incarceration popularity. Furthermore, you'll notice only one of those tweets has the "spon" abbreviation, indicating their are indeed pay-for-tweet posts. Over at Darren Rovell's awesome sports business blog, he looks at the gray areas surrounding these sponsored tweets:

Influencers like Vick get paid for their tweets, but what about McDonald's? Do they know what celebrities are tweeting out their links? I assume they didn't since confusion ensued when I originally asked if Vick and the brand were associated. That's a problem if a social media company just guarantees clicks and doesn't tell the client who is tweeting. In the case of Vick, he's a potentially controversial figure and once he blatantly tweets about a promotional campaign, it's assumed that he's a part of your brand.

Is that kind of relationship confusion good or bad for product promotion? What happens if McDonald's doesn't want to be associated with Vick? Do they tell MyLikes to have everyone tweet about them except Vick?

Welcome the future of social media marketing. How would you address a sports figure you didn't necessarily approve of tweeting about your products, all because you signed up with a social media marketing company?

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