Major crisis unfolding in Australia where a publicist sent ABC’s Media Watch an anonymous email saying that the South Australian Tourism Commission was looking to pay high-profile influencers and celebrities to tweet about Kangaroo Island – in a seemingly organic manner. And the SATC confirmed to Media Watch that it was “using influencers in the promotion of great South Australian products.”

As media in Australia has reported it’s “the tip of a marketing iceberg that has yet to hit Australian shores, but is already turning into a lucrative sideline for overseas celebrities willing to hand over a slice of their 144-character tweets to brands.” The managing director of the agency who executed the campaign was quoted as saying “the seemingly innocent marketing effort had turned into a full-blown crisis” – and undoubtedly a crisis PR firm is needed to manage this as its seemingly front page in all the Australian media.

Of course celebrities are paid to tweet – and in a crowded, distracted market, celebrities allow brands to break through the clutter. Influencers create buzz around products, necessary noise and it’s something we do a lot of and will continue to.  America as leader of the pack.

Media reports that Penn State University hired two new public relations firmsthis week to navigate “corporate communications, media relations and stakeholder engagement” in the aftermath of their major scandal.  They already paid $5.3 million to several firms and now, retained two new firms, for the next year for $2.5 million. “Retaining these communications firms puts us more firmly on the path toward accountability, openness and preserving our reputation as one of the world’s leading research universities,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. Its natural that Penn State should hire top agencies to help them recover from this world-class scandal.

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