Thuzio forces publicists to pitch responsibly.
Thuzio is a new app that gives brands and corporate companies the complete run down on celebrities they may be looking to hire as a spokesperson or brand representative. As an entertainment publicist who has represented both brands and talent, I realize the importance of finding talent that is a true representation of the brand. I also know while working on the brand side of things, I’ve received pitches from colleagues for clients that are nearly a direct opposite of the brand identity they are pitching for an opportunity. While I’ve tried to err of the side of safety when pitching, I can admit attempting to sway brands to work with a particular client if I believe I can make sense of the partnership. But Thuzio is taking the intangibility out of celebrity wrangling and forcing my colleagues and me to pitch appropriately.
“Thuzio 360 provides a complete view of the commercial profiles for celebrities and influencers. Brands and organizations can use qualitative tags, 20+ filters and information on brand affiliations, social media reach, strengths, interests, and talent representation to research and source the best influencer to connect authentically with their customers,” says company rep Jarrod Jordan. I can only imagine the stress levels of many public relations practitioners are escalating as they learn about this new app. Any publicist worth their weight in media relationships will attempt to at the very least creatively push their clients beyond the numbers, but this app makes the sell much harder. It’s rendered the decision a lot more black and white.
Instagram and Twitter followers, Facebook likes and social media engagement are all tallied to determine if a celebrity is a potential good fit for a brand or company. In my experience, all these numbers are great, but much is contingent on the talent’s personality and interest. There is a certain magic that happens when a celebrity’s passion matches up with a brand’s mission and the overall campaign connects with the target demographic; it’s enough to get a ego-driven PR professional off for at least one quarter of monthly retainers. For example, as much as I hate to add to their world domination, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s BALMAIN campaign was sheer genius. Who cares more about over-priced designer dark fashion than Kimye?
On the other hand, the right celebrity with the wrong brand or vice versa is one of the fastest ways to put egg on one’s face and usually a few jobs end up as collateral damage if the campaign budget is big enough. Does anyone remember Andre 3000’s Gillette campaign? I didn’t think so. Because of his extreme exclusivity, Andre 3000 is one of the most sought after hip hop artists of his time; however, it stands to reason that he isn’t overly concerned with men’s grooming. His brand identity is synonymous with authenticity, not the box that Gillete was attempting to force him into for the sake of the campaign.
Thuzio threatens to take the intangible factor out of pitching, which could prove profitable in the long run for brands and their marketing budgets. “The app provides businesses and professionals with an all access pass to celebrity talent and influencers through a comprehensive online platform, talent procurement services and event series. Thuzio’s two unique products – 360 and Executive Club – provide the ideal talent solutions for the business community,” the company’s website reads. Still for many public relations professionals an app will not be able to accurately explain why their client is the best fit for an ad campaign. Some qualities are just beyond numbers and analytics. As we move further into a digital world, it seems the biggest challenge for PR professionals will be getting their clients on the honor roll of social engagement, at least enough to receive a passing grade from Thuzio.