When Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams spoofed the Kars For Kids jingle the car donation charity was just as surprised as the next guy. Of course, the nonprofit was thrilled to receive this kind of unsolicited, not to mention scot free advertising for its good work. Alas, that kind of thing—that is, unsolicited celebrity endorsements—don’t happen naturally all that often. At least not these days.
In fact, the newest trend in celebrity endorsements is to contrive to get a celebrity or anyone really, as long as that person has a large following on social media, to casually drop a mention of a product or company in a post. When it’s done carefully, the consumer is no wiser and may be left thinking, “Hey, if So-and-So prefers Crest to Colgate, why should I be a shnook?”
There’s just no way to know if this form of advertising is paid for or unsolicited. You could ask, but with hundreds or thousands of fans following an account, who knows if you’ll get an answer. Especially if the endorsement is meant to be hush-hush.