Imagine my surprise when this ad popped up next to my Facebook feed. I had no idea that Lionel Richie was hawking short sales. Oh, right, 99.9% sure he’s not. Rather, it appears that this Short Sale Network group on Facebook is illegally using the legendary singer-songwriter’s likeness and one of his most famous song lyrics as a way to get business.
“But what are the chances he’ll see it,” the person who decided to run with this unauthorized celebrity tie-in probably thought (or possibly said aloud to someone who tried to stop him or her). “I’m just targeting local people on Facebook,” he or she may have added. But beware thinking that “nobody will see my ad.” (Why are you even running it, then?) What if I happened to be friends with Mr. Richie’s publicist? Related to his agent? Connected to him in social circles? (Hey, it’s possible.)
Oh, and just in case you missed the ad but somehow ended up on the Short Sale Network’s PUBLIC group page, have no fear: Mr. Richie graces the top of the page as their cover photo:
Now I understand the appeal of wanting to connect to something bigger (and much smoother) than their own non-brand. And perhaps other ads were considered, such as: “Say You, Say Me, Say Short Sale…” and “Short Sales All Night Long.” But in the end, you really have to pay for celebrity endorsements – or risk paying the price when that famous person sues you and ends up “Dancing on the Ceiling” as they count they money you pony up.