It is not surprising if a famous celebrity talks in public about the particular product or service he is doing. We can assume that it is part of his agreement with his sponsor. But what if the celebrity says something bad about the product?
Of course, basketball superstar Lebron James was not paid millions of dollars to expose the shortcomings of his Galaxy smartphone. The NBA star was commissioned by Samsung Electronics to be a ‘Samsung spokesman.’
On March 12, Lebron posted a tweet that conveys his disappointment over the smartphone that he is promoting. On that controversial Twitter message, the basketball superstar disclosed that his device erased all data stored in it after it automatically rebooted. He also described the experience as among the ‘sickest feelings he’s ever had in his life!’
Getting a call from Samsung
However, his followers noticed that after a few hours, the Miami Heat player deleted that message. Later in the day, he tweeted “#WhyMeFaceRightNow #SMH.” Most observers think it was unclear if that message still referred to his smartphone woes or if that indicated that he was reprimanded for criticizing his sponsor. Interestingly, that same evening, Lebron’s tweet messages indicated that the content of his phone had been restored.
In a tweet, he said, “Close call. Wheew! Got all my info back. Gamer! Lol.” Did his tweet messages say something about the product or brand he is endorsing? To some analysts, it may seem that Samsung is able to handle and resolve customer complaints quickly. To others, it may have indicated the unlikely flaws of the device, which may instantly turn off most consumers.
Lebron as endorser
It was in 2010 when Lebron created his Twitter account. In 2012, he agreed to become a product ambassador for Samsung Galaxy Note II. As part of the deal, he has appeared in a number of high-profile TV commercials for the phablet. The latest of which was the commercial spot he starred in for the latest Galaxy Note 3, launched in October last year.
The basketball star is not the only celebrity that was hired to push for Samsung devices. The South Korean brand has also commissioned James Franco and Jay Z, among others, to be spokesmen and endorsers of Samsung handset products. But interestingly, we have never heard those endorsers rant in public about the Samsung devices they are using.