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Product Placement, Celebrities and…Water?

In the days following award shows like the Golden Globes, it’s customary to read stories about surprise victors, snubs, viral moments or even that one celebrity who had a little too much to drink.

Unfortunate losers from this year included Bradley Cooper and his passion project, “A Star is Born,” while the big winners were Rami Malek and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Don’t forget to add Fiji Water to that good fortune list as well.

“The Earth’s Finest Water” joined Moet as sponsors for the event, which included the “accidental” newfound celebrity for a local model deemed “Fiji Water Girl,” who seemingly found herself in a majority of photographs with Hollywood’s elite.

None too pleased was vocal anti-hydration actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who expressed her anger toward the water company and claimed she did not give consent to have her photo taken with the product. She still proceeded to repost said image on her personal Instagram account. Ironic.

I wouldn’t be surprised if millennials across social media joined me in a major eyeroll while reading about Curtis causing a ruckus over this nonsense. When scrolling through celebrity photos at the Globes, of course the “Fiji Water Girl” is noticeable. But I’m not going as far as associating that star with promoting or endorsing the water itself.

As a society inundated with sponsored content from A, B, C, D and even E-list celebrities across a number of different channels (social media, television, online content, etc.), it feels like we’ve built up an immunity to promotional messaging.

It must have been exciting for Fiji and Moet to be the sponsors of the Globes. Not only did they quench the thirst of the stars, they also got to ride a culture news wave that includes, you guessed it, MORE ADVERTISING courtesy of everyone from Entertainment Tonight to CNN with the continued mention of their brand names.

As a social media marketer, it feels like hitting the jackpot when your client and a celebrity (A-E) are captured together. However, it’s important to note the appropriate times when consent is needed and when it’s not.

Simple answer: It’s all about the intended use of the photo.

Do I think that Curtis’ consent was needed for a photographer to snap a shot of her on the red carpet? Of course not.

The actress chose to walk the red carpet, putting herself among the Golden Globe signage and subsequent sponsors. If Fiji took the photo to their social media channels and tried to act as if Curtis was sponsoring the water, then that’s a different story and her permission would likely be needed. Yet, after giving a once-over of Fiji’s accounts, it’s clear the brand hasn’t reposted any of the red carpet photos. In my opinion, no harm no fowl.

Keep hydrating the world, Fiji!

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